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Comparative Analysis of the Ideas of Adam Smith and Karl Marx

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Adam Smith dedicated a great majority of his book, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, explaining the idea of wealth and its importance and role on countries and how some of them develop more quickly than others. “In general, if any branch of trade, or any division of labour, be advantageous to the public, the freer and more general the competition, it will always be the more so” (Book II, Ch. II). The most successful countries in the world have governments that do not interfere with the country’s commerce and trade and a free marketed nation has a better chance in having a more successful and wealthier economy. Producers centralize their focus of production on certain products that require higher demand by the population with a reasonable and affordable price. Since customers are more willing to pay for a certain quantity of a product, it encourages producers to be more efficient as they attempt to produce products at the lowest price possible in order to maximize profit. This relationship between demand and production encourages competition amongst the firms to improve their products and services, therefore, allowing the country’s economy to continue to grow more powerful and wealthier.

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Karl Marx, in his ‘Communist Manifesto’, argues that the fundamental factor that explains our lives and history of our society is by the struggle among the economic and social classes. As Karl Marx argues, the bourgeoisie, who are the owners of the factories and businesses in capitalist societies, exploit the proletariat, who are the worker class of the society. Based on this relationship, the elites pay the workers just enough so that they can afford the minimum means for living. “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win” (Communist Manifesto). One must take into account the time period of Karl Marx’s ‘Communist Manifesto’, while arguing in favor or against of his ideology. During his time period, due to many factors such as lack of modernization and a less educated working class, the proletarians were not treated fairly. Considering that period of time, Marx makes a standing argument for this group of people who have been mistreated and falsely framed into thinking their capitalist bosses know what is best for them.

In my opinion, Adam Smith provides a better insight of the current American political scene because considering our current level of modernization and development of technology, science, production, and etc., capitalism actually allows for greater freedom for the people to have access to their desired products while it allows the producers to focus on improving developments. Marx’s vision, however, does not hold as strong in our contemporary politics. As our society continues to develop and grow larger to a great degree on the daily basis, in allows the working class to become more educated and provides opportunities for all people, despite their social and financial class, to achieve the kind of financial status that Marx believed it would be impossible. We do not live in a complete free market society and there are certain laws and regulations that protect the working class from unfair treatment.

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