Paper topics on Marx

  1. What does Marx mean by alienated labor? Why has labor been alienated in capitalist society? How is this alienation overcome supposed to be overcome in communist society? Is it possible for this alienation to come to an end under capitalism? (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844)
  2. Why does Marx hold that “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle”? How is a communist revolution supposed to bring class struggle to an end? (The Communist Manifesto)
  3. Why did Marx think that a communist revolution would eventually occur? Why was Marx wrong? (The Communist Manifesto)
  4. What, according to Marx, determines the aims and purposes of government in a capitalist society? How accurate is Marx’s analysis? (The Communist Manifesto)
  5. Describe Marx’s view of government under communism. What is dictatorial about the dictatorship of the proletariat? (The Civil War in France).
  6. What is Marx’s vision of distributive justice, that is, of how incomes should be distributed, in the first stage of communism? How does Marx’s view compare to Locke’s? (The Communist Manifesto, The Critique of the Gotha Program)
  7. A communist revolution would nationalize or socialize much of the means of production. Would doing so violate the rights of property of those who owned the means of production? Would doing so violate their rights if they receive monetary compensation, or if the lose right to exclude workers from using the means of production, but not the right to buy and sell revenue and the right to buy or sell that right to revenue? Compare the views of Marx and Locke on this issue.
  8. Describe a job you once had and discuss the extent to which it was alienating or not alienating. How might this job, or the work place in which you worked as a whole, been changed to make your job, or other jobs in that workplace, less alienating?

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