Marx's theory of history
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2012)|
|Part of a series on|
The Marxist theory of historical materialism understands society as fundamentally determined by the material conditions at any given time - this means the relationships which people enter into with one another in order to fulfill their basic needs, for instance to feed and clothe themselves and their families. In general Marx and Engels identified five successive stages of the development of these material conditions in Western Europe.
The Marxist concept of private property gives the basis for Marx's theory. "Private property" in the terminology of Marx's time, for Marx himself, and for Marxists sometimes today, does not mean the simple possessions of a person, but the ownership of productive property or property which produces a profit for the owner, such as corporate ownership, share ownership, land ownership, and - in the case of slave society - slave ownership (since slaves work the land, mines and other means of producing the material means of existence).
- See in particular Marx and Engels, The German Ideology
- Marx makes no claim to have produced a master key to history. Historical materialism is not "an historico-philosophic theory of the marche generale imposed by fate upon every people, whatever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself". (Marx, Karl, Letter to editor of the Russian paper Otetchestvennye Zapiskym, 1877) His ideas, he explains, are based on a concrete study of the actual conditions that pertained in Europe.
- Gewirth, Alan (1998). The Community of Rights (2 ed.). University of Chicago Press. p. 168. ISBN 9780226288819. Retrieved 2012-12-29. "Marxists sometimes distinguish between 'personal property' and 'private property,' the former consisting in consumer goods directly used by the owner, while the latter is private ownership of the major means of production."