Key Features of Marx's Materialist Conception of History and Society

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1015 Words
Date:  2022-05-17

Marx relates history to the already existing human beings, under particular conditions, which are subject to change, due to the activities that human beings engage in. Society's influence, through the actions of people, dictates and shapes the way of life. According to Marx, among other traits by which man can be differentiated from other living organisms, the struggle for self-sustenance is a crucial aspect (Delaney & Schwartz, 1932). Man strives to support himself by engaging in activities that generate a source of income. Production of commodities and property ownership changed the man's life, shaped history, and resulted in a society stratified on the criterion of possessions. This paper will, therefore, discuss the key features of Marx's materialist conception of history and society.

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Production of material is a central feature in understanding man's life history and the evolution of society to its current state. The necessity to sustain one and to be able to provide for others pushed human beings towards activities that would generate material and income. These two would play an essential role in the satisfaction of the individual and societal needs. Production as a feature of materialism was characterized by the nature of means available to facilitate production of goods and services (Marx, 1959). Related to the population size of a particular society at a given time, production was purpose-driven. It was geared towards ensuring that the members of the community were in a position to acquire, and often, pay for the goods and services availed through various economic activities.

The perpetual nature of the needs that a specific community has is a major characteristic of Marx's conception. The population, marked with continued growth, led to the creation of continuous needs upon the fulfillment of previously existing ones (Delaney & Schwartz, 1932). The whole production process occurred in a sequence of sorts. The means used in meeting the needs required upgrading as society progressed. Consequently, the satisfaction of one's requirement led to the rise of another. They were addressed in the order of their immediacy, leading to a continuous nature of production. One need led to another, thus forcing the society to improve the tools in production activities. This contributed to the changes witnessed in history and societal set-ups.

Ownership of property by individuals is a significant feature of the materialist perspective on history and society. Whereas from history, ownership of private property was not commonplace, Marx identifies the increase in man's desire to own assets (Marx, 1959). Not only were the production activities conducted to help the needy, but they were also modified over time, to facilitate the acquisition of wealth by individuals. This desire led to the development of a very competitive society, where everyone seeks to outdo the other, by having the most sizeable amount of property under their names. It is on this basis that members of the society changed and became more driven towards amassing private wealth.

The co-operation of the different forces present in the market characterizes materialism according to Marx's perspective. Various members of the society were able to combine forces for the successful satisfaction of the societal needs. The working together of different individuals allows constructive criticism, which challenges participants towards the production of quality services that meet the demand of the population in a given population context. Notably, the levels of co-operation and the likelihood of enhancing humane characters both contribute to the production process (Delaney & Schwartz, 1932). The commonness of the societal issues to be addressed is one element that pushes man toward co-operation. It has led to the formation of a society and a people who go beyond normal efforts, as they strive to have their needs addressed. The man has transitioned through history, and he is still a part of these acts of togetherness in society.

Awareness of one's immediate environment is a vital aspect of materialism. Man can relate to both the feminine and masculine genders in society. The acknowledgment of the endless challenges, whicha man face, and the resources that go into the production processes, are aspects that call for more awareness. In order to ensure sustainable exploitation of resources, one can keep the mind alert and informed of the scarcity of resources. This minimal availability or lack thereof of material that facilitates the production processes requires a conscious mind. From a historical perspective, I believe men who lacked awareness of their surroundings encountered troubled relations with other members of the society (Delaney & Schwartz, 1932). Interactions between the people and nature were based on one's awareness of concerns held by the community. The ability to relate with nature, individuals' needs, and the means of production available, shows a unique level of awareness and individuality in man.

The element of labor was at the core of Marx's concern in addressing the changing needs in history and society. Concepts of the division of labor between members of the community stimulated growth as observed in society. The specialization on one area maximized production and exploitation of workers. The ability to acquire necessary needs of production has unveiled a social system, which is stratifieddepending on one's financial or work standards (Marx, 1959). History depicts a community that is beautiful and undistracted. The demand for cheaper labor rates has led to the concept of labor-specific skills offered and availed to the material-driven society to enhance production.


In conclusion, there are fundamental elements that characterized Marx's materialist conception of history and society. These elements have been at the center of life for several decades. They contributed to the progress that man is enjoying in the modern society. An analysis of these features depicts a history of the existence of man and society as perceived today. It is clear that the production, ownership, labor, awareness, and co-operation were all aimed at expressing man's way of life. The actions of people, their traits, and response to nature are capturedin how they shape history and society.


Delaney, T., & Schwartz, B. (1932).A Critique of German Retrieved from

Marx, K. (1959). Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.Economica, 26(104), 379.

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