Essay: Durkheim Marx and the Economic Climate

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Durkheim asserts that it isn't economic reform that is needed to help society, but a "moral" reform. How does Durkheim's perception differ from Marx's prescription? How do they make their arguments.

Whereas Marx sees the primary problem of society as a class struggle, Durkheim saw the division of labor in modern society as the primary source for disintegration and conflict (Ritzer & Goodman 2004). Drukeheim notes, somewhat similarly to Marx, that the increased stratification of society has led to greater inequality and a reduced sense of social responsibility. He does not, however, argue that class ought to be eradicated through common ownership, as Marx does, but rather suggests that moral reform that encourages inter-class organizations can effectively restore the elements of society that are missing due to the modern division of labor that creates stratification (Ritzer & Goodman 2004).

It is important to note that Durkheim did not perceive this type of inequality or the same need for moral reform in non-modern societies, including those of the past and contemporary societies that had not yet industrialized (Ritzer & Goodman 2004). This makes his theory quite different from Marx's. Marx perceived a division of class in all stages of the progress human civilization, and it is for this reason that he determined a full revolution would be necessary in order to eradicate class -- it was something that had been perpetuated since the dawn of civilization. Durkheim, in contrast, saw the division of labor as a uniquely modern problem that had occurred only with the advent of industrialization and that could therefore be fixed with simpler reform efforts (Ritzer & Goodman 2004).

Marx makes a clear distinction between materialism and idealism. Explain his argument. How is Weber's conceptualization of the world similar or different?

For Marx, the materialism of class differences was secondary to the idealism that was an inherent part of the class system in human society (Davidson 2009). That is, he saw the material inequality of the higher and lower classes as the result of the ideology that allowed class distinction and oppression to be perpetuated. Marx argued that the material wealth of a society was unfairly distributed because of the unfairness of the class system, and the ideological willingness and ability for the higher classes to continue oppressing the lower classes. Material possessions and wealth were a necessary tool for effecting this oppression and their own continued dominance, but such materialism was not the true source of the oppression but rather a result of it. In this way, Marx saw no distinction between social and political class, as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Durkheim Marx and the Economic Climate.  (2009, October 14).  Retrieved July 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/durkheim-marx-economic-climate/7717

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"Durkheim Marx and the Economic Climate."  Essaytown.com.  October 14, 2009.  Accessed July 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/durkheim-marx-economic-climate/7717.