Key Themes In Political Analysis
Terms in this set (97)
Give the first two key features of the Socialist view of Human Nature.
1 - Fraternity (Humans are tied together by a collective bond of common humanity or fraternity - viewed as comrades - bound together by bonds of sympathy and comradeship. The individual is inseparable from society)
2- Co-operative (Humans are naturally a co-operative species - reject the Social Darwinist view of 'survival of the fittest', humanity has only evolved and survived due to the capacity for mutual aid and ability to work together.)
Give the two examples of the Socialist view of Human Nature.
1 - Fraternity (DONNE - 'No man is an island' - all part of the main)
2 - Co-Operative (KROPOTKIN 'Humanity has survived because of its capacity for mutual aid' - communist society free from central govt)
Give another two key features of a Socialist view of Human Nature
1 - Malleable/ flexible view of Human Nature (there is no such thing as a single universal human nature. An individuals nature is not fixed at birth but is a product of the environment in which they have been brought up - nurture over nature)
2 - Optimistic/ developmental (believe in the perfectability of Human Nature. They are optimistic that if the right conditions are created in society than humans will be good natured, altruistic and motivated by moral incentives)
Give another two examples of the Socialist view of Human Nature.
1 - Malleable/ flexible view of Human Nature (MARX - 'Its not man's consciousness that determines his existence, on the contrary, it is his existence that determines his consciousness')
2 - Optimistic/ developmental (OWEN - General characteristics from the best to the worst, from the ignorant to the most enlightened, may be given to any community.)
Outline the Marxist belief in Human Nature
Has a more positive view of Human Nature believing that material incentives can be removed all together.
-Future communist society should be run on the principle of 'from each according to his ability to each according to his need'
Outline the Social Democratic/Revisionist belief in Human Nature
-less extreme view insisting on the need for balance between moral and material incentives
-accept the need to give people material incentives and allow them to earn more money. (produces economic growth which helps finance welfare through progressive taxation)
Outline the Neo-Revisionist belief in Human Nature
Rules out only the most minor re-distribution of wealth through taxation. The priority for the governments is to provide tax breaks and incentives to big business and entrepreuners to earn more money in the hope that wealth trickles down through society.
Give the positive and negative definition of utopianism.
Positive Meaning - HEYWOOD- all socialists are utopians since they develop visions of a better society in which human beings can achieve greater emancipation and fulfilment as members of a community.
Negative Meaning - GEOGHEGAN - declares himself 'in praise of utopianism although he conceeds that utopians have often been 'unrealistic, irrational, naive, self indulgent' (doesn't match hard facts of reality)
Give four reasons why Marxism considers itself a form of Scientific (not utopian) socialism
1 - A theory of class conflict
2 - A theory of revolutionary social change
3 - A theory of history
4 - Historical necessity and inevitability
Why is Marxism a "Theory of Class Conflict"
- incompatible social interests that lead to exploitation. This is why class is an economic and political reality
-Utopians - Socialism comes through rationalism and justice.
Why is Marxism a "Theory of Revolutionary Social Change"
-Change can only come through revolution.
-revolution can be peaceful, even constitutional, but violent if necessary.
-B control state - has a class character and cannot be used to bring about socialism
-Utopian socialists invariably see the state as part of the socialism solution rather than part of the problem.
Why is Marxism a "Theory of History"
-All societies are moulded by the conflict between economic forces of production and relations of production
-Growth of the proletariat would ultimately lead to socialism
Why do Marxists believe socialism is a "Historical Necessity & Inevitability?"
-Socialism has to be built upon capitalism and without it true socialism was impossible.
-Socialism for Marx was not a utopian goal but a necessary and inevitable scientific process of human development (will happen whether we like it or not.)
-If socialism is viable it needs to be both a view of a good society and realistic and practical.
Outline the Key theorist of Scientific and Utopian socialism
ENGELS - characterised Marxism as a scientific doctrine as opposed to the utopian views of OWEN & FOURIER (utopians merely painted 'fantastic pictures of a future society without any hard analysis)
-Provided a detailed analysis of capitalist society and their historical theory of how a socialist society would come about.
Give one main feature of a Socialists view of society
Collectivist - Socialists view society as collective and communal based around co-operation
-Liberal atomicism as ineffective and unnatural.
-Action taken by people in organised groups is likely to be more effective than the sum of many individual actions ruled by self interest
What theorist is associated with Collectivism
DONNE - 'No Man is an Island'
-Collectivism is broadly the belief that collective human endeavour is of greater moral and practical value than individual self striving. It thus reflects the idea that human nature has a social core 'human beings do not thrive when isolated from others, social groups meaningful entities.
Give a second main feature of a Socialists view of society
Socialists reject Conservative belief in a hierachy and organicism. Humans naturally behave socially and are united by a common humanity. Socialism is considered to be ethically superior and promotes compassion and educates people to counter the selfish and aggressive nature of capitalism.
What theorist is associated with Fraternity
OWEN - 'There is but one mode by which man can possess in perpetuity all the happiness which his nature is capable of enjoying, that is by the union and cooperation of all for the benefit of each'. We are all part of a larger family which forms a universal brother / sisterhood.
Give the third main feature of a socialist view of society
Class refers to groups in a similar socio-economic position and common interests- class consciousness. Class divisions are temporary and removable and socialists reject other artificial divisions such as nationality, which is designed to divide the working people of the world.
What theorist is associated with Social Class
MARX - 'The working men of the world have no country'. Socialists view international solidarity as important to reduce war and unite socialist forces against the international nature of capitalism.
What is the Marxist View of Collectivism & Class
Capitalist society is split into two classes- the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. For Marx the relationship between these two classes is one of exploitation due to the fact that the proletariat is paid less wealth than his/her labour produces. Capitalism will inevitably be based on class conflict, this will be overcome when the national resources of society are distributed to need.
What is the Social Democratic/Revisionist view of Collectivism & Class
Argue that capitalism must be modified and controlled to make it less exploitative. They view their jobs as representing the workers through trade unions in their struggle against owners of businesses who have wealth and power on their side. Believe it is possible for a Social Democratic state to overlook levels of class conflict by mediating between trade unions and managers.
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of Collectivism & Class
Ignore class as a major social cleavage as class structures are so fluid. They have distanced themselves from trade unions as they are seen as outdated and old fashioned remanant of industrial society. Neo-Revisionists claim that we now live in a classless society in which policies should be aimed at the emerging socially excluded underclass giving them the opportunity to better themselves and enter the workforce.
Give three different types of collectivism
Economic - belief in varying degrees of common ownership and control of economic wealth and production. (Clause IV of the 1918 constitution and the nationalisation of the 'commanding heights of the economy' & use of keynesianism to manage economy for common good)
Social -building of social organisations that encourage cooperation and common interaction (Kibbutzism- small households run on the basis of people co-operating together in which property is owned in common - "from each according to his ability to each according to his need")
Political - use of collective power to run and make political decisions, ensures the individual is not isolated (Tony Benn attempted to introduce mandatory re-selection which would allow labour to de-select their MP if unhappy)
Provide a definition of egalitarianism
People should be treated as equal in areas such as religion, politics, economics, social status and culture. Egalitarian doctrines maintain that all humans are morally equal. Socialism can be regarded as an egalitarian ideology as it promotes greater equality and a response to rising levels of inequality.
Give three reasons why socialists believe in equality and social justice
1 - Just & Fair (Inequality of wealth does not reflect differences in peoples innate abilities it reflects the unequal structures of society and unequal treatment people receive equality of opportunity alone does not legitimise inequality as the creation of a meritocratic society perpetuates myth of innate inequality. Justice and fairness demands people are treated equally in favour of material rewards.)
2 - Enhances Community & Co-operation (equal society people will be more likely to identify each other and work together for the common benefit - Equality of opportunity breeds a survival of the fittest mentality.)
3 - Satisfies need (need is a necessity, it demands satisfaction. It is different from a want or a desire. Need satisfaction is the basis for human fulfilment and self realisation - Socialists distribute goods on basis of need)
What is the Marxist view of the extent of equality & social justice
-Absolute social equality
-Abolition of Private Property.
-Communal ownership of means of production.
-Needs based distribution of wealth
What is the Social Democratic/Revisionist view of the extent of equality & social justice
-Relative social equality.
-Mixed economy, public and private industry.
-Nationalisation of major industries.
-Re-distribution of wealth through progressive taxation and extensive welfare state.
-Acceptance of some form of material incentive
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of the extent of equality & social justice
-Little social equality.
-Acceptance of classical liberal assumptions behind free market economics, the need for extensive material incentives. -Focus on providing equality of opportunity, targeting social welfare provision at the socially excluded.
Give three features of a socialists view of freedom.
1 - Opposition to individual freedom
2 - Social Freedom
3 - Extreme Positive freedom
Why are socialists "Opposed to Individual Freedom"
It is not the atomistic individual that should be the focus of freedom but the social individual, the individual who is connected to and dependant upon other people in various ways, they believe individuals are by nature social or communal creatures. The true agent of freedom is the producer and the overthrow of obstacles in their path: capitalism.
Why do socialists believe in "Social Freedom"
To be truly free is to be free from material or mental obstacles, free to pursue ones aims and aspirations so long as they are not detrimental or harmful to others. A form of positive freedom taken to the extreme, everyone should live under the conditions to act as free social beings. Either all are free or all are not
What do socialist mean by "Extreme Positive Freedom"
One should not be free to make a private profit off the Labour of another, so you can view a socialist view as a form of positive freedom taken to the extreme in order to be truly free people need to live under the conditions under which everyone can act as free social beings. This is because we are social or communal creatures.
Outline the differences within Socialism concerning their views of freedom.
Revisionists and social democrats have adopted a more conventional modern liberal interpretation of positive freedom- in terms of providing the conditions for the realisation of human potential. The conception of freedom has provided justification for social welfare. The welfare state enlarges freedom by empowering individuals and freeing them from social evils.
-Could be argued New Labour have incorporated Classical Liberal notion of negative liberty, lack of state intervention etc.
Give the three main features of a socialists view of private property.
2- Promotes greed and selfishness
Why do socialist believe private property is "Unjust"
Private Property is unjust, wealth is produced by collective effort of human labour and should therefore be owned by the community not by private individuals.
Why do socialist believe private property is "Promotes Greed & Selfishness"
Property breeds acquistiveness and so is morally corrupting. Private property encourages people to be materialistic, to believe that human happiness or fulfilment can be gained through the pursuit of wealth. Those who can own property wish to accumulate more, while those who have little or no wealth wish to acquire it.
Why do socialist believe private property is "Divisive"
-Private property is divisive, it fosters conflict in society
-Socialists have therefore proposed that the institution of private property be abolished and replaced by common ownership of productive wealth, and the right to property be balanced against the interests of the community.
Provide a definition of common ownership
Common ownership means of production refers to joint or collective ownership by all individuals in society. It is closely related to the socialist belief in fraternal collectivism and the belief in social and co-operative core of human nature. It is oldest socialist idea, pre-dates capitalism, mostly through the poor peasantry who demanded seizure of land. The development of capitalism brought about a more complex set of ideas relating to evils of private property.
What is the Marxist view of "Common Ownership"
a communist society would invite for Marx the abolition of Private Property. Marx clearly believed that property should be owned collectively and used for the benefit of all humanity. However, he said little about how this could be achieved in practice
- Common ownership came to mean state ownership or what the Soviet Constitution described as socialist state property,
What is the Social Democratic/Revisionist view of "Common Ownership"
-aiming for a measure of common ownership in a mixed economy. 'To secure for workers the full fruits of their labour'
- Labour Party Clause 4. Example: Atlee 1945 - Nationalised what it called 'the commanding heights of the economy
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of "Common Ownership"
-Neo-revisionists have tended to modify their attitude towards common ownership seeing it as a compliment to private property rather than a replacement for it. This has meant the acceptance of an essentially privately owned economy, sometimes support for privatisation i.e. NEW LABOUR
Define Scientific Socialism
ENGELS - opposed to the utopian views of OWEN & FOURIER
-Regarded their ideas as scientific because of their detailed analysis of capitalist society and their historical theory of how a socialist society would come about.
MARX (influenced by HEGEL) - The dialectic was a method for explaining how change occurs in society out of a conflict between competing forces. A thesis gives rise to an antithesis which contradicts the thesis. The conflict is resolved by a synthesis.
-dialectic emphasised that existence determines consciousness and felt that materialism was superior to ideas
Marx turned Hegel's idealistic ideas on their head and developed a materialistic version of the dialectic which he called historical materialism.
-economic production or labour is the most crucial of all human activities
What is meant by "Base & Superstructure"
According to Marx economic production is so important that whoever controls the means of production controls society as a whole, explained useing a building metaphor 'base and superstructure'. By economic base Marx was referring to the means of production, by ideological and political superstructure Marx referred to the political structure of society and the dominant ideas of society: morality, religion etc.
What is meant by "Historical Stages"
1. Primitive communism: Basic society where people were forced to work together in order to survive. Only able to produce enough to survive, no classes.
2. Slave society: Conflict between slave owner and slave.
3. Feudal society: Conflict between landowner and peasant.
4. Capitalist society: Conflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat.
5: Communist society: Classless society in which everyones needs were met. These are also called epochs.
Explain what is meant by Class conflict as a motor of history
-According to Marx the relationship between classes in society 'the relations of production' is based upon exploitation.
-P = exploited
-conflict produces a change in the social, economic and political structures of society- history progresses to a new type of society based on different social, economic and political structures.
-MARX & ENGELS - 'The history of every hitherto society is a history of class conflict'.
Explain what is meant by Inevitability
Capitalism is based on economic exploitation which will eventually result in class conflict between proletariat and bourgeoisie. Capitalism is doomed to failure because it is based on class conflict which will lead to revolution
Give two criticisms made by Marx of capitalism
1- Exploitation (the worker does not get paid appropriately for the work they do Because the capitalist controls business the capitalist can buy labour cheaply in exchange for providing the worker with just enough wages to live on. The capitalist is nothing more than a parasite to the process.)
2 - Alienation (we work not to produce what we need or what is useful but commodities to be sold for profit, Alienates humans from the process of their labour, forced to work under supervision)
Explain Marx's theory of the inevitable collapse of capitalism
1- Based on exploitation (Competition compels capitalists to cut costs making savings whenever possible getting more and more from individual labour and employing as few workers as they can)
2- Monopolies due to competition (more people will join the ranks of the proletariat causing social polarisation.)
3- Cyclical crises caused by overproduction (the goods cannot be afforded by the working class - leads to further job losses & reduced B profits)
4- Immiseration (working class getting poorer and revolutionary class consciousness - produces an exploited mass united by common economic interest, aware of their exploitation)
Give three reasons why Marx justified a temporary Dictatorship of the Proletariat
1- Secure Revolution (stop the dispossessed bourgeoisie taking back control)
2- Preparation for Communism (Money and classes would still exist but wages would reflect labour time (no surplus value). The state and its instruments would still be means by which the proletariat would rule.)
3- Nature ( The capitalist system would be replaced by one geared to the satisfaction of human need. Human beings would realise their full potential.)
Why was the idea of a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" abused
LENIN & STALIN - The power of the state would continue to grow. It is debateable whether Lenin ever saw the end of the state calling such dreams 'utopian'. Stalin accepted the idea of an almost permanent stage of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat- becoming a totalitarian dictatorship.
Explain why Marx thought the state would wither away
Nature of the state as an instrument of class rule - Once the class system had been abolished there would be no need for the state after the abolition of private property and alienated labour
-MARX ( 'the state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie'.)
Explain the nature of communist society.
-Communism deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the fruits of his labour. The only thing it deprives him of is the ability to enslave others by means of such appropriations. The theory of communism: abolition of private property.
Give two reasons how Leninism departed from the ideas of Marx.
Theory of Imperialism (Imperialism constituted a higher form of capitalism which delayed the revolution in advanced capitalist countries - capitalists increasingly exploited underdeveloped parts of the world and used profits to buy off the domestic working classes)
Vanguard Party (highly disciplined centralised party that would work at the forefront of the revolution to provide the proletariat with revolutionary consciousness and serve as a mentor/ leader)
Explain two other ways how Leninism departed from the ideas of Marx.
Use of peasantry- (Lenin did not think that the bourgeoisie were strong enough in Russia to carry through a capitalist revolution. He believed that the proletariat could develop a revolutionary government - capitalist and communist revolution could be rolled into one.)
Democratic Centralism- (democratic aspect of this organisational method describes the freedom of members of the political party to discuss and debate matters of policy and direction - democratic centralism consisted of 'freedom of discussion, unity of action'.)
Give three ways in which Stalinism departed from the ideas of Marx.
1- Socialism in 1 Country (acknowledged all communist revolutions in Europe except Russia had failed- focussed instead on building up the Soviet Union internally creating it into a 'giant fortress' against the external hostile capitalist world.)
2- Dictatorship (totalitarian dictatorship operating through a monolithic party where all forms of debate were eradicated by terror)
3- Violence and purges (created a secret police force that broke down prisoners through intense interrogation)
In what four ways has Social Democracy revised the ends of fundamentalist socialism.
Mixed Economy - (Private and public owned) instead of full common ownership.
Relative equality/ social justice instead of absolute equality.
Amelioration of class differences not a classless society
State interventionism not intervention of the state.
How has social democracy revised the means of fundamentalist socialism
Social Democracy does not look to plan revolution but have adopted evolutionary means leading to Parliamentary forms of socialism.
-Some groups have abandoned Marxism i.e. SPD in Germany
Some traditionally evolutionary i.e Fabians in the UK.
Outline Bernstein's criticisms of Marx
1- challenged Marx's theory that capitalism would lead to a two class society based on conflict ('the middle classes change their character but they do not disappear from the social scale')
2-claimed that all classes were improving their position (as opposed to the immiseration of the Proletariat)
3- refuted Marx's theory that the collapse of capitalism was inevitable, although there were periodic downturns capitalism had demonstrated its ability to pick itself up and emerge stronger than before.
Give two key features of social democracy
1- Moral not a scientific method (Socialism is not the result of a dialectic/scientific process caused by the inevitable development of economic forces. Socialism is not a higher stage of development than capitalism but a moral idea for which those committed must educate people.)
2- Not abolition of Capitalism but Humanise Capitalism (Capitalism is accepted as the only reliable means of generating wealth but is considered morally defective as a means for distributing wealth and structuring society and if left unregulated it leads to poverty. Socialism should be created within capitalism rather than as an alternative to it.)
Give 2 examples of social democracy
1- Moral not a scientific method (Ethical socialism; Benn -socialism is based on Christian/ethical teaching. He argues that inequality is unethical and must be drastically reduced.)
2- Not abolition of Capitalism but Humanise Capitalism (Tawney advocated extending social services and the social role of industry. A truly democratic society would not value democracy purely as a political term but as a social principle.)
Give a further three key features of Social Democracy
1- State = A tool for creating socialism (state is viewed as a neutral institution which can be used to create a fairer more equal society. The defects of capitalism can be rectified by the use of the institutions of the state.)
2- Amelioration of Class Conflict ( Class conflict can be ameliorated through using state action to reduce and smooth antagonisms between rich and poor.)
3- Evolutionary Gradualism (endorsement of Liberal Democratic principles, political change does not need to be brought about through revolution but should be brought about peacefully and constitutionally through the development of socialist political parties who seek election.)
Give 3 examples for these features of Social Democracy
1- State = A tool for creating socialism (Fabians believed that state power could be used by working class parties to achieve socialist goals)
2- Amelioration of Class Conflict (Ethical socialists believe that humans are ethical creatures bound to one another by ties of love, sympathy and compassion)
3- Evolutionary Gradualism (Fabians accepted the Liberal view of the state as a neutral arbitrator rather than the Marxist view of the state being an agent of class rule.)
List four accepted policies of 20th century social democracy.
1- Managed regulated Capitalism
3- Comprehensive welfare state
4- Mixed economy
What do Social Democrats mean by "Managed Regulated Capitalism"
-Designed to tame and humanise capitalism. Keynesian economics would maintain full employment by government intervention.
i.e. Post War Labour governments helping to subsidise industries (prevent mass unemployment)
What do Social Democrats mean by "Corporatism"
-Class conflict ameliorated through cooperation between trade unions, business and the state to ensure a smoothly run and efficient economy
i.e. National Economic Development councils to agree prices and income policy.
What do Social Democrats mean by "Comprehensive Welfare State"
-State enforced progressive taxation to fund social engineering to create relative equality and greater social justice by redistributing wealth to poor
i.e. 1945 Attlee government tackling WIDSI
What do Social Democrats mean by "Mixed Economy"
-Private Industry allowed but essential parts of the economy (infrastructure, energy etc) are nationalised to be run in the common interest.
i.e. Labour government nationalisation of commanding heights of the economy
Give three new features of Neo-Revisionism.
1- Economic Globalisation
3- Decline in traditional structures and morality
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by "Economic Globalisation"
-IMF & WTO dictate economic policy thus social engineering of nationalisation and keynesianism are no longer relevant.
-High rates of income tax = individuals leave country thus reduced economic efficiency
-Governments can now only affect two variables: skills of population (knowledge based economy) and social infrastructure.
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by "De-Industrialisation"
-Led to change of economic structure in countries away from traditional industries towards service sector employment such as financial and retail sectors
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by "Decline in Traditional Structures & Morality"
- a more uncertain world where what is moral today may be immoral tomorrow and vice versa
-To recognise the need for a moral framework and to adjust public institutions to a very different and demanding environment.
Outline three key theories of Neo-Revisionism
1- Acceptance of free market and Private Ownership
2- Competition/ Market State
3- Abandonment of class analysis
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by the "Acceptance of Free Market & Private Ownership"
Globalisation means there is no alternative to free market. Rejection of the economic role of the state. Acceptance of the superiority of private enterprise and competition. Pro-business and Pro-enterprise approach. Requires greater flexibility of labour. Rejection of trade Unions
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by "Competition/Market State"
Economic intervention by the state should not aim to own and control the economy but to attract private investment, secure national prosperity. Concentration on social intervention, investment and education. Education is good because it improves employability and benefits the economy.
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by the "Abandonment of Class Analysis"
Socialist concept of class conflict is outdated meaning many people associate themselves as middle class. Classes are no longer easy to define due to social mobility and distribution of material rewards, response to fluid distribution of work related skills. Seek to build a consensus society highlighting community ties
Give two other key theories of Neo-Revisionism
1- Emphasis on equality of opportunity
2- Community and Moral Responsibility
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by the "Emphasis on Equality of Opportunity"
Social egalitarianism has been sealed down to a liberal belief in equality of opportunity or asset based egalitarianism- the right of access to assets and opportunities to enable individuals to realise their potential
-Welfare in favour of social inclusion - giving people a hand up not a hand out
What do Neo-Revisionists mean by "Community & Moral Responsibility"
-Rejects egotistical individualism in favour of contextual view of interdependance and reciprocity.
-Emphasise how rights and responsibilities tied together and seek to create a new socially responsible society i.e. Human Rights Act
Social Democrats believe in gradualism, the belief that socialism did not need to be brought about through revolution but could be done through a process of gradual evolution which would inevitably triumph over capitalism.
I.e. Fabians: The Inevitability of Gradualness - The majority of the working class vote for socialist parties. Social policy implementation using powers of the state.
Give the first two reasons why gradualism has failed.
1- Fractured Support
2- Economic Globalisation
Why has gradualism failed in terms of "Fractured Support"
-Social Democracy was based on compromise between the priorities of Liberal Capitalism, economic efficiency and fundamentalist socialism
-Caused inevitable divisions between different factions over the most appropriate balance between capitalist and socialist values i.e. Labour Party in '80's
Why has gradualism failed in terms of "Economic Globalisation"
-Economic state intervention isn't achievable in a global economy with multi-national capital. State intervention within the economy is restricted by the 'footloose nature' of international capital- governments are forced to be pro-capital to ensure companies dont leave the country.
i.e. Clause IV (State ownership and control heights of the economy can't happen when industries and businesses are multi-national)
Explain the other two reasons why Gradualism has failed
3- Not Relevant
4- Impossible (Marxist Argument)
Why has gradualism failed it being "Not Relevant"
-policy of economic state intervention was formulated in the 19th century when there was clearly a mass exploited working class that needed assistance from the state. Most people now associate themselves as middle class
i.e.20th century capitalism has been able to reform itself which has led to increased prosperity for all
Why has gradualism failed it being "Impossible"
Social democracy's use of the state makes the incorrect assumption that the state is neutral. The state will ultimately serve the interests of those who own and control the means of production. The capitalist state will act against any attempt to reform it.
i.e. In some countries Social Democratic Parties have been overthrown.
What is the Marxist view of the State
Material basis of the state is relative scarcity- where a group of people produce a surplus which divides society into classes. In general the state is controlled by the economically dominant class which consists of political and cultural institutions. In most states in history, rights were allotted according to wealth. 'The executive of the state is essentially a committee to manage the common affairs of the bourgeoisie'.
What is the Social Democratic view of the State
state is viewed as not purely an instrument of ruling class control but as a neutral institution which can be used to create a fairer more equal society. The defects of capitalism can be rectified by the use of the institutions of the state. Eg. The Fabians belief that state power could be used by working class parties.
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of the State
globalisation means there is no alternative to the free market and the state must focus on the 'knowledge economy' and structural building within society. Be able to adjust public institutions to a very different and demanding environment recognising the need for a moral framework.
What is the Marxist view of Equality
Communism is stateless and classless society which 'deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the fruits of his labour'. It would be essentially meritocratic and designed to suit human need. The central problem is that no-one is entirely free of the capitalist system and the current exploitation.
What is the Social Democratic view of Equality
Capitalism does not inevitably lead to conflict between classes. Class conflict can be ameliorated through using state action to reduce and smooth antagonisms between the people. Socialism should be created within capitalism and the state can be used to create a fairer, more equal society.
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of Equality
Social egalitarianism has been sealed down to a Liberal belief in equality of opportunity or asset based egalitarianism. For example: Bill Clinton giving people a 'hand up not a hand out'. Welfare benefits would be targeted at socially excluded but conditional on individual willingness to work.
What is the Marxist view of Capitalism
Revolution would occur in the most advanced capitalist countries through a class conscious proletariat who formed the majority of the population. The proletariat would be aware of their exploitation and would spontaneously revolt.
What is the Social Democratic view of Capitalism
Capitalism is accepted as the only reliable means of generating wealth but is considered morally defective as a means for distributing wealth and structuring society, if left unregulated it leads to poverty. Socialism within capitalism.
What is the Neo-Revisionist view of Capitalism
In the competitive global economy economic intervention by the state should not aim to own and control the economy but concentrate on social intervention, investment and education. This improves employability and benefits the economy, bringing a minimum standard of living to all.
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