Marx And Mill
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It has long been argued which social structure and government is right for a
society. The philosopher Karl Marx argues that Communism is the best choice for
government for a society while philosopher John Stuart Mill argues that the best choice
for government is democracy. They both make strong arguments for their choices of
government, but they both share a common theme and that is that their form of
government is designed to help the people of the society. Marx views Communism
as a form of equality for all the people of a society, everyone makes sacrifices in order to
achieve the greater good. Mill views Democracy as a form of government in which the
people run the society and their needs are met because they are the ones making the
decisions. The two philosophers differ on the issue of which government is better for a
society because they are at opposite ends of where the power lies in the government. In
Marx's Communism he shows that the decision making power lies with the government
not with the people, as is the case in Mill's democracy.
Communism as Marx describes it, is based on equality, that all people in a
society are equal in wealth, healthcare, education, etc. and most of all quality of life. That
everyone has the same living standard, there is no rich, there is no poor, and everyone is
simply equal. These are the basic principles that Communism is based on. In Marx's
dialogue about Communism he talks about social classes and how they ultimately will lead to social conflict. What he was saying was that if there is a rich and a poor the poor will ultimately be jealous of the rich, and lash out against them because of it. However if there were no classes as Marx suggests then there would never be a conflict because no one would have any reason to be jealous of anyone else. For this to succeed it would require that the government be fair to the people and make sure that everyone is equal in their quality of life. This would require the government to create programs to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the system and to make sure that people stay equal once equality is achieved. Marx laid out the plans of this system and said that if these plans were followed it would create a perfect almost utopian society in which there is no conflict and everyone in the society is happy. This is of course is easier said then done as some societies have attempted to use Communism but have not followed Marx's directions and have not succeeded in creating the perfect society (Example Russia and modern day China). On the issue of government and what would be best for a society, Marx believes Communism is the answer. This society would be one without social conflict and jealously between classes, because equality is the number one principle in Communism. The rich and poor would be put together in what some would like to call the middle class and would live in harmony, if it truly worked and it was done correctly.
Democracy as it is described by Mill, is that the power of the government lies
with the people. The people make the decisions in the society and thus through design the
people's needs should be meet. The basis of democracy is based on the individual, instead of the group. Mill says in his dialogue about Democracy that control and compulsion lies with the people and that the government is an instrument of the society, it does what the society wants and needs.(What the people want) In a democracy, individuality is placed on a very high pedestal, according to Mill, individuality is what matters most in a Democracy. An individual's opinions are what are important to the whole, so if an individual has a problem the government can take care of it. This form of a social structure usually promotes a capitalistic economy. In order for this government and economy to work there must be a rich and a poor. However there is no class conflict because many of the poor believe they can be rich someday so they are not jealous of what the rich individuals have. On issue of what government is best for a society, Mill believes that Democracy is the key to having an individualistic society that is productive and efficient. This would be a society in which the people do what they want and make the decisions, not the government, and the basis for this is that the society is full of people who are individualistic and have their own free thought.
Marx and Mill differ significantly of which form of government they feel is
best suited for running the government productively and efficiently. Marx feels
Communism is best suited for running the government with equality ,while Mill feels
Democracy is best suited to run the government with it's basis on individuality. However
they both put emphasis on what is best for the people as a whole. That is where the
similarities end between the two on the issue of government.
The differences between the two systems are very obvious and glaring.
Communism places the power with the leaders of the government, while Democracy
places the power with the people. Both systems claim to work efficiently when instituted
correctly, in the Communist system the government decides for the people what is best for the society. The needs of the society are put before the needs of the people. In a
democracy the needs of the individual are put before the needs of the society as a whole
and the people decide what to do through the government. In a communist system there is
no rich, and there is no poor everyone is equal. In a democracy (with a capitalistic
economy) there is a rich and a poor, and having one and the other is essential to the
success of the system. Marx claimed that having social classes was hurtful to a society
and would damage the society for a long time. As Marx says that if there are social
classes then there is ultimately social jealously among the classes, which leads to social
conflict between the classes. He is saying that the poor become jealous of what the rich
have and will lash out at the rich ripping the society at the seams, which will cause the
society to fall apart. While Mill defends this saying that there is no jealously among the
classes in a democracy because the poor believe they will be rich someday so they do not
hate the rich because they believe they will be one of them soon. These ideals and
principles separate Marx and Mill on how they view what is best for a society as far as
government goes. They both have their strengths and their weaknesses, however both
systems are designed for the overall good of the people. However, even if either system
was used it also depends on what kind of people run the government, if the people
running the government aren't fair then the people will ultimately suffer. That is why Marx mentions in his dialogue that if the people are not being treated right by the government then the people have the right to revolt and overthrow the government no matter what kind of government it may be.
Marx and Mill both wrote revolutionary works for their time. They wrote in a
time where new ideas were not exactely embraced at the time. However society was going through a change in the United States, England, and Europe. The industrial revolution was occurring as Marx and Mill were finishing their works and their new ideas were eventually accepted and helped shape many societies. Although their ideas were different on how the government should be run, they were both revolutionary and genius ideas for the time they lived in. The time they wrote in not everyone accepted new ideas or embraced them, they wished to stay with what worked and not change anything, but both Marx and Mill pushed the envelope and wrote their works. Communism and Democracy were radical ideas that Marx and Mill wrote about and these ideas that they wrote about helped future societies develop and prosper.
No one truly knows which government and social structure is best for a
society, and whether or not a governemnt will succeed and run efficiently and smoothly
if it is implemented. Mill had his view of a perfect government and society, one in which
the people made the decisions for the government; he called this radical idea Democracy.
Marx had his view of what a perfect government should be, one in which the government
made the decisions for the people and everyone in society was equal, he called it
Communism. Mill and Marx both believed that their form of government was the right
choice for a society to make when they were choosing a government. Although they had
different ideas of what they thought was the right government
and how it should be run,
they did share a common ideal and that was the welfare of the people in the society. Both
Marx and Mill thought their ideas were for the best, for the people in society even though
they had two completely different ways of doing it.