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Great Philosophers – An Introduction to Karl Marx

This free online political theory course introduces you to Karl Marx and his ideas on class that remain relevant today.

Publisher: NPTEL
This free online course covers Marx and his historical materialist theory that highlights two social classes: the bourgeois ruling elite and the proletariat working masses. We explore concepts such as alienation and exploitation through the lens of a critique of capitalism. We explain how most governments enact policies that contribute to the exploitation of the proletariat while you learn Marx’s views on civil society and the State.
Great Philosophers – An Introduction to Karl Marx
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Students

    154
  • Accreditation

    CPD

Description

Modules

Outcome

Certification

View course modules

Description

Marx and his adherents aim to improve the conditions endured by members of the working class, many of whom are exploited and alienated in factories. Capitalist society’s economic organisation combines labour and capital to form the modes of production. Marx divided society into two classes: the bourgeoisie who have capital and the proletariat that supplies labour. This course explores how the bourgeoisie prospers and exploits the suffering proletariat. The plight of the working class inspired Marx to offer a philosophical defence, thus defining him as a broadly humanist philosopher.

The course illustrates industrialization’s relentless exploitation of workers alienated from the products of their labour, the process of labouring and their fellow human beings. We also examine the impact of such alienation on the bourgeoisie. While studying, you may wonder how governments protect workers but we explain how they often do the opposite and enact laws to legitimize the exploitation of the proletariat - thus widening income inequality. The course examines Marx’s critique of such ‘injustice’ and focuses on his vision of a ‘rational’ order that would abolish private property.

The prevailing capitalistic system masks an exploitative reality with the term ‘free contract’ but are workers truly ‘free’ while signing them? This course explores such questions while examining shifting class conditions and breaking down Marx’s definition of ‘communism’. While the countries that adopted communism sank into tyranny, the ideas that drove their economic policies remain important and we investigate their contemporary impact on countries across the globe. This course suits anyone who wants to understand today’s political conversations and often-misused terms like  ‘Marxist’, ‘communist’ and even ‘socialist’. Whatever one’s views, this course can help you become an authority on Marx’s ideas and his continued impact on today’s political debates.

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