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Definition of 'Marxism'

Marxism is a social, political, and economic philosophy that originated in the 19th century with the work of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is based on the idea that the material conditions of a society, especially its economic system, determine its social structure and political system.

Marxism argues that capitalism is a fundamentally exploitative system that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the working class. The capitalist class, or bourgeoisie, owns the means of production, such as factories and machinery, and uses this ownership to extract surplus value from the working class, or proletariat. Surplus value is the difference between the value of the workers' labor and the wages they are paid. This surplus value is then used to accumulate capital, which the bourgeoisie uses to expand their businesses and increase their profits.

According to Marx, the working class will eventually become aware of its exploitation and will rise up to overthrow the capitalist system. This revolution will usher in a new socialist society, in which the means of production are owned in common and the profits from production are shared equally among all members of society.

Marxism has had a profound impact on world history. It has inspired revolutions in many countries, and it has been the guiding ideology of communist states such as the Soviet Union and China. However, Marxism has also been criticized for its utopianism and its failure to account for the complexity of human nature.

Despite these criticisms, Marxism remains an important and influential school of thought. It continues to be studied by scholars and activists around the world, and it has had a significant impact on the development of social and political thought.

In addition to its economic theories, Marxism has also developed a number of sociological theories. These theories focus on the relationship between class, power, and ideology. Marx argued that the class structure of a society is determined by its economic system. The ruling class, or bourgeoisie, uses its control of the means of production to maintain its power over the working class. The working class is exploited by the bourgeoisie, and this exploitation is justified by the ruling class's ideology.

Marx's sociological theories have been used to analyze a wide range of social phenomena, including class conflict, social stratification, and ideology. They have also been used to develop strategies for social change.

Marxism has also had a significant impact on the development of political thought. Marx argued that the state is an instrument of class oppression. The state is used by the ruling class to maintain its power over the working class. Marx believed that the state would eventually wither away once communism was established.

Marx's political theories have been used to justify a variety of political movements, including revolutionary socialism, social democracy, and communism. They have also been used to criticize capitalism and to develop alternative forms of government.

Marxism is a complex and multifaceted philosophy. It has had a profound impact on world history, and it continues to be studied and debated by scholars and activists around the world.

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