Type: Analysis
Pages: 2 | Words: 347
Reading Time: 2 Minutes

James W. Russell introduces the ideas of Marx and Durkheim on capitalism and its further development in Chapter 4 of his Double Standard. He describes and briefly compares the ideas and approaches of both scholars to the functioning of capitalism and possibilities of its further development or replacement.

According to Russel, Marx builds his theory on the nature of capitalism and relies on the commodities as a fundamental point. He distinguishes between commodities produced for profit only and goods produced for self-consumption and satisfaction of individual needs of a person or the entire family. He believes that commodification requires limits or regulations as it is inacceptable to produce everything for profit. It is acknowledged that humans are the ones responsible for the creation of market, which makes a point in the argument about the belief in the market force – we believe in its powerfulness and ability to change our lives. Marx makes a logical conclusion that the state has the exclusive power to influence the way market works and to make necessary changes to supply the population with goods and services in need.

Durkheim’s approach is based on the historical division of labor in order of its succession. He uses a human body for the comparison with economy and the way it functions, introducing the notion of social body. Durkheim believes that social order can be established only manually, and thus, the balance should be kept by people as well. He awarded the state with a function of regulating the division of labor, which he believed would be the main function of the state. However, he had a concern about the quick changes of the society, leading to the loss of control, and he realized that, in the future, the changes would occur even faster.

Both Marx and Durkheim used capitalism as a basis to push off in their analysis and concluded similarly that state should interfere in the way market works, although assigning different functions to it. Marx used revolutionary approach and suggested replacing capitalism with socialism, while Durkheim made his accent on the strong state social policy.

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