The Marxist Opposition to Capitalism and Business

Living reference work entry


Marxism is a political ideology synonymous with worker exploitation and capitalist oppression. Marxist thoughts and ideas occupy a prominent place in management history. Regarded as one of the most influential authors of the “nineteenth century,” Karl Marx’s work was seen as a beacon of light for the “exploited” “proletariat.” Motivated by the evident disparity between the “poverty” and “sickness” of the working class and the “triumph” of capitalists, Marx was uncompromising in his resolve to explain the class struggle brought about by private enterprise. While conceding the economic progress made possible through capitalism improved the social conditions for some, Marx believed that the consequence of this progress, the perpetual cycle of degradation and misery experienced by an exploited working class, was not an acceptable price to pay. Whether Marx’s theories are supported or opposed, they have had a lasting influence on the minds and actions of those living within a capitalist society. Altering the “nature and direction” of “social science,” Karl Marx’s collective works have endured as one of “the most powerful” forces “permanently transforming the ways in which” people “act and think.” Within this chapter, we trace the development of Marxism from Marx’s first public work The Poverty of Philosophy, written in response to the work of socialist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, through to the first volume of Marx’s Capital. This chapter examines the Marxist opposition to capitalism and business.


Marx Proudhon Capitalism Exploitation Surplus value Adam Smith Division of labor India 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.James Cook UniversityDouglasAustralia

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