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Marx’s Concept of Historical Materialism Essay Sample Ireland

Karl Marx was a German historian and philosopher. He was also an economist, sociologist, journalist, political theorist, and socialist revolutionary. His thoughts led to the origin of Marxism which can be defined as a political, social, and economic theory that focuses on the fight between the working and the capitalist class.

According to Karl Marx, the conflict between the working and the capitalist class results in a revolution that overthrows the capitalist class and this is often followed by seizing control of the economy.

Marx’s Concept of Historical Materialism Essay Example Ireland

The notion of Marxism is that if the working class establishes itself as the ruling class and overthrows the capitalists then the working class tries to annihilate the class society. It then tries to make society a classless one.

As per Marxism, a Marxist society does not have conflicting social classes and it does not have any governance. This is an essay that discusses Marx’s concept of historical materialism.

What is historical materialism?

In simple terms, historical materialism is a model that helps philosophers and social thinkers to comprehend social structures and the different types of societies.

Historical materialism also helps philosophers to understand why the social structures have altered historically and it also helps the social thinkers to forecast the inception of the ideal types.

Besides the things that are mentioned above, historical materialism helps social thinkers to explore the implications and conditions of historically specific separations.

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It also focuses on material conditions for social reproductions. There are two sections of the theory and they are as follows:-


Historical materialism is a theory of the dynamics and structure of any particular production mode.


The model in this context is a theory of the different historical sequences of different production modes.

In this context, it is pertinent to mention that the theory of historical materialism is very important when it comes to social structure and social formation. This essay analyses the importance of the theory of historical materialism and it also discusses how this theory contributes to the success of Marx’s works.

Importance of the concept of historical materialism

Those who follow Marx’s ideology find the concepts of historical materialism useful. According to this theory, the basis for any society is its economic structure.

The economic structure is very much related to production and that in turn is very much related to the legal as also political superstructures of societies.

Besides, the concepts of historical materialism also discuss all living or non-living objects are always changing and the rate of change is determined by the various laws of dialectics.

The laws of dialectics are also understood as the power of abstractions and it separates matter that is naturally tangible matter from economic matter.

In this context, the naturally tangible matter can be described as something like the use-value, labor, and other related things.

Though many communist nations endorse Marx’s ideologies such ideologies help to set up a social structure that is non-capitalistic.

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However, in this context, it can be said that there are several shortcomings of Marx’s concepts of historical materialism. For an instance, Marx’s concepts fail to provide a proper explanation of the transitions from a feudal society to a capitalistic one.

Apart from this, the theory fails to provide explanations for the basic changes in the type of class relations. Therefore, Historical Materialism may be vital since it provides an explanation of Marx’s notions about the basis of society and how it is dependent on the economic structure.

But his theory fails to provide explanations about how capitalism started. It also fails to explain the transitions from a feudal society to a capitalist society.

Concept of surplus value in historical materialism

The concept of historical materialism also discusses the notion of surplus values and exchange values.

According to Marx, production is often an economic part of the society, and whenever the production is done in sufficient quantities so that it meets the demands and at the same time there remains a surplus. The surplus-value concept is not just associated with goods but is also related to services like education services.

Another aspect of Marx’s ideology that is very much related to the concept of historical materialism is that the production of notions, consciousness, and conceptions are often directly related to the material activities of the people who are part of society.

He opined that the inequalities in the social structures are maintained by the model of superstructures and base. Marx’s conceptions about how the relations and forces of production shape society are very complex and subtle.

As per Marx, both base and superstructures work in a coordinated manner so that balance in society is maintained.

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