Marxism Vs Neo-Liberalism

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Marxism vs Neo-Liberalism

Marxism vs Neo-Liberalism


This paper provides an analytic comparison of two of the most important political philosophies that have shaped the contemporary global sphere that has provided the political scientists with an opportunity to debate and analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the two theories - Marxism and Neo-Liberalism with regards to the concept of a welfare state.


Marxist approaches to power are distinctive in focusing on its relation to class domination in capitalist societies. Power is linked to class relations in economics, politics, and ideology. The aim of much recent Marxist analysis has been to show how class power is dispersed throughout society, in order to avoid economic reductionism (Amin, 2004). In capitalist societies the state is considered to be particularly important in securing the conditions for economic class domination. Marxists are also interested in why dominated classes collude in their oppression and address issues of resistance and strategies to bring about radical change (Dumenil, 2004).

Classic Marxism, for instance, stresses mercantilism, atheism, empiricism, determinism, holism, progress, and dialectic. Fascism displayed currents that suggest spiritualism, idealism, romanticism, voluntarism, holism, intuition, and decadence. A further complication enters the picture because over time the same broad ideology can embrace several distinct philosophical currents. For example, in the three centuries of the history of liberalism, liberal thinkers have grounded the key liberal ideas of individualism, limited and representative government, historical progress and reform, separation of church and state, and equality of opportunity upon a wide variety of philosophical positions (Cafruny, 2003).

Concept of State and Society in Marxism

The Marxist conception of the state throws a spotlight on the fundamental basis of social power, an issue that is seldom addressed explicitly in the mainstream literature. With respect to scholarship on the state, Marxism provides a clear contrast to its mainstream competitors (Gowan, 1999). Marxism provides a distinctive theory of the state in capitalist society and one that can be tested empirically and in rivalry with competing theories.

Mainstream approaches to political science and sociology view the capitalist state as either a neutral actor that is connected to society in theoretically unspecified ways (pluralism and social constructivism) or as an autonomous entity that has its own interests and preferences that are distinct from society and is capable of acting independently of social forces (state autonomy) (Jessop, 2002). Despite their many differences, these mainstream schools of thought share important similarities insofar as they adopt an essentially open-ended view of the possibilities for state action, which is assumed to result variously from public opinion, the preferences of various interest groups or factions, no one of which is assumed to be preponderant, shared norms and values, the beliefs and preferences of government officials, or the imperatives of geopolitics.

Marxism, by contrast, proposes an organic connection between the state and the capitalist class that sharply circumscribes the limits of the possible in both domestic and foreign policy (Levine, 2003). The state is not neutral in its relation to society but, rather, serves as the agent of the ruling class ...
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