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History and Random Events

3. Marx, it appears, would respond to the view that history is nothing more than a series of random events with something like contempt, if his writings on the subject are any guide. Marx appears to have an answer for every single little social problem, and even in the wake of discredited political and economic regimes aligning themselves with Marxist theory, Marx's answers offer adherents the opportunity to claim that they are valid for all history anywhere. Marx's analysis of the individual's relationship to his society and hence to the scheme of history, however, illustrates that whether one perceives history as a consequence of random actions or as a a consequence of conspiracy on the part of powerful actors, the fact is that events as a category of experience by and large overwhelm the options that individuals have to seize control of their own experience of the world.

[T]here is also in the world at large an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation: and as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable (Marx, "Contribution" 20).

This description of human experience in capitalistic society is at the core of Marx's analysis of a society against which there must be a revolution if the quality of human experience is to improve. Marx's intent appears to be to analyze the realities of modern society, to be considered as the outcome of historical realities and processes, in strictly economic terms. Although the implications of Marxism were great for political and economic (i.e., elite) history, the importance to Marx to social and cultural history cannot be ignored. For it was to the masses of society as individuals, ...

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History and Random Events. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:10, April 21, 2019, from