Class - a simple view


The aim is to defend the starting?point of Marx's theory of class, which is located in a definition of the working class in the Communist Manifesto. It is a definition solely in terms of separation from productive resources and a need to sell one's labour power, and it is closely connected with Marx's thesis that the population in capitalism has a tendency to polarize. That thesis conflicts with the widely?held belief in the growth of a large middle class, unaccounted for by Marx. Moreover, recent critics such as Elster, Roemer, and Cohen have argued that this definition fails even in its own terms. The definition is refurbished so as to withstand these objections. But is there any point in using it? Does it serve to pick out the exploited producers as Marx intended? It does, once due attention is given to the idea of the collective worker, which is central in the volume of Capital which Marx himself published. That idea makes plain that it is an irreducibly corporate entity which is productive and subject to exploitation. The structural conditions for membership of that entity remove Marx's view from any simple identification of working?class membership with manual or lowly labour

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Theories of Surplus Value.Karl Marx, G. A. Bonner & Emile Burns - 1954 - Science and Society 18 (3):274-275.
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Capitalism and Social Democracy.John Dunn - 1988 - Studies in Soviet Thought 35 (1):75-76.

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