Dehumanization: Marxism and Modern Era

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Dehumanization is the process of stripping away or denying other’s access to basic human qualities or rights. An ideal society would be free of this inequality, however, during the modern era, encouraged by capitalism and free competition, it is difficult to maintain complete equality and fairness. In fact, three books from the reading list, Marx’s Communist Manifesto, Sumner’s essay, What the Social Classes Owe to Each Other, and Primo Levi’s tale of Survival at Auschwitz, truly illustrate how difficult ideas and cultural values of the era make it to eliminate dehumanization. Although, the situations presented in each of the book are very different, they mainly deal with the loss or diminishment of four basic human qualities: the natural value in being human, the uniqueness of the individual, the freedom to act and make decisions, and the equality of status. This paper will analyze not only how these qualities were diminished in each of the cases in the modern era but also look to see if dehumanization was resisted. Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx, attempts to explain the goals of Communism as well as the theories underlying this movement. It argues that class struggle, or the exploitation of one class by another, have been occurring for generations. Marx quotes, "The history of all hitherto existing society [has been] the history of class struggles" (79).  Class relationships are defined by an era's means of production. However, However, eventually these relationships cease to be compatible with the developing forces of production. At this point, a revolution occurs and a new class emerges as the ruling one.  Specifically, the Modern industrial era is characterized by the class conflict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. The bourgeoisie consisted of employers of laborers or the owners of the means of production. The proletariat represented the wage laborers and they were dehumanized. In fact, the bourgeoisie violated...
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