I’m doing POLS essay research at the moment, and found this gem of a paragraph in Leiss, Kline, Jhally & Botterill (2005, p. 38):
Hierarchy, inequality, and power have shaped all societies, but were distinctly patterned in modern society. One of the most astute critics of the new relationships of industrial production was Karl Marx, who marveled at the immense power of the new systems of production, seeing in them as offering for the first time in history the means of unshackling society from scarcity and ameliorating the inequalities and hierarchies of the past. Yet he also argued that the promise of industrialization could not be actualized, because the new relations of production divided people, producing not simply more goods, but social classes and systemic inequality and continual economic crisis as well. The new arrangement of production allowed property and labor to be controlled by a privileged few, whose interests in deriving an adequate return for their capital investment held inordinate sway within society.
Clearly there are other complications, although I still want to give the authors a big bear hug for summarising Marx so succinctly, without making a clearly biased statement. It makes far more sense in the context of the chapter (entitled “from traditional to industrial society”), which does a pretty good job of pointing out the positive and negative aspects of both societies. It’s so nice to read commentaries on Marx which actually seem relevant and useful, as opposed to shallow comments about communism like “well why should I work my arse off when someone else is working for less but getting paid the same.” The hilarious thing is, that comment sounds more like it’s talking about modern capitalism, except the person working less is probably making more money.
PS. I’m not saying rich people are lazy, just observing that the more money a person/family makes, the less they then need to work, because they can let their excess wealth generate more wealth. Obviously not true for everyone, but it certainly gives already well off people a HUGE head start.
quote from “Social communication in advertising: consumption in the mediated marketplace.” 3rd Edition.