Marxist Notion of Development and Social Change

The basic premises of the Marxist conception of development have their roots in Marx’s analysis of capitalist mode of production in the West, and its consequences in the former colonial countries. Marxist analysis of social change and development has faith in the principle that actual working of any development strategy is fundamentally influenced by the dynamics of class relations. Marxist theories of social change and development can be classified into two broad categories. First among these are the theories of Marx and Engels, which could be called as Classical Marxist theories of development. In these theories, “capitalism is seen essentially as a mode of production and creates the class forces through the employment of free but property less wage labour by competing capitalists and firms”.

The socio-economic transformation of the society occupies a central position in the Marxist conception of development. Marx used ‘dialectics’ and ‘materialism’ to analyse and delineate the evolution of human society through various material conditions of production such as raw materials, tools, machine as well as human beings themselves, with their knowledge and experience. These material conditions of production reflect and are related to a mode of production in the process of historical evolution. These class forces will bring social transformation, mediated by working class consciousness. Marx believed both in the inevitability and desirability of change and projected the path that human society was likely to take, not only to bring about progress, but also a just social order.

The contradiction between forces and relations of production, the struggle between classes is resolved by revolution. When such revolution affects the capitalist society, divided between proletariat and bourgeoisie, the proletariat would capture the power and its dictatorship would begin. This culminates in the Communist revolution. It does away with labour as a class and abolished classes and the rule of classes, and thus state. This is a true stage of development and freedom, existential and cultural, where narrow selfish interests cannot encapsulate human labour. This Communist society is based on the pre-condition of well being of each to achieve the well being of all.

By professing great belief in Socialism with the revolutions in Eastern Europe, led by Russia, the leaders of the Third World, as said earlier, have accepted the Western, particularly the neo-classical and Keynsian models of development with great enthusiasm. After the success of industrialisation efforts in Soviet Union during Stalin period, the newly Independent countries also evolved strategies of development planing to reshape their societies through industrialisation.

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