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Concepts of State Power MARXIST AND WEBERIAN THEORIES OF THE STATE

MARXIST AND WEBERIAN THEORIES OF THE STATE

AND THEIR CONTEMPORARY RELEVANCE IN AMERICA

This research paper summarizes the concepts of state

power in Marxist philosophy and in the writings of the

German sociologist Max Weber and discusses how each theory

of the state might help explain its role in contemporary

American society. The Marxist view that the state is the

resultant of economic forces has proved to be a vast

oversimplification, but it is nevertheless closer to the truth

in present times than could have been imagined not long ago.

On the whole, Weber's theories and observations of the state have

proven, despite their somewhat mystical components, to have been

Marxist and NeoMarxist Theories of the State

A fundamental premise of all Marxist theory is that

economic factors determine the course and outcome of history

(economic determinism). Karl Marx and Friederich Engels said

that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the

history of the class struggle"1between the capitalist

class, which owned the means of production, and the working

class. As the following quotations illustrate, Marxists

view the state as the tool of the capitalists, the main

function of which (until communism triumphs by revolution)

is the oppression of the proletariat:

The state is "the executive committee of the

bourgeoisie . . . The task of government in a

capitalist state . . . is to repress the majority

of the people for the benefit of the wealthy few

who own the means of production."2

"What is the state? It is an organization of the

Engels later slightly modified this formulation by stating

that "various elements of the superstructure, the political

forms of the class struggle . . . exercise their influence upon

the course of the historic struggle, and in many cases

predominantly ...

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Concepts of State Power MARXIST AND WEBERIAN THEORIES OF THE STATE. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 17:31, September 17, 2014, from http://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1702465.html