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Applicability Of Marxism To The Study Of Social Problems

2005 words - 9 pages

The subject of social problems is one discipline of ever-increasing need for social inquiry. Conventional theories have just but only justified the existence of these conditions and have remained in their normative school. Critical theories have tried to push their historical materialist approach but could not bring any formidable solutions to avert social problems. By definition a social problem is an elusive concept to define and it takes forms that are the subjective and objective understanding. Eitzen et al. (2009:8) argue that some social conditions are detrimental in any situation.  In this sense, they have an objective character.  There are conditions in society such as poverty, ...view middle of the document...

The production relations creates a universal one dimensional poverty stricken man, the powerless, economic emasculated, alienated and subordinated man (Althusser, 1969/1971; Marcuse, 1964; Marx and Engels, 1884/1973).Thus, the Marxist theory explains the occurrence of social problems along the line of production relations. The solutions the theory suggests are terminal such as the abolition of the whole system and replace it with a socialist where workers will own the means of production. The major weakness of this theory is that it is too deterministic by emphasizing economism and politics in the production of social problems.
The conflict perspective explains social problems as a manifestation of maldistribution of power, economic resources and class struggles. For example, the conflict theory locates diseases such as AIDS as a disease of poverty which is a direct cause of capitalism which emphasizes profit at the expense of welfare (White, 2008:12). The economy produces a people with industrial stress which create yet social problems such as alcoholism (Waitzkin, 2001:342). Alcoholism and drug abuse are explained by Marxism as caused by industrial stress which alienates the worker by robbing his productive capacity, make him labour for poor wages and not psychodynamics as the rich psychologists put it across (Navarro, 2002:523). Thus, the Marxist perspective is very applicable in explaining the occurrence, production and reproduction of social problems.
Social problems are a direct result of exploitation of the poor by rich people. The conflict perspective explains the production of poverty as a direct manifestation of the capitalist mode of production. One critical aspect about social problems is that they are intertwined where one social problem reproduces the other (Waller, 1936). For instance, poverty is caused by economic marginalization of the poor and those who are poor may end up engaging into crime such as robbery in order to redress their condition. In addition, the poor women who suffer both the exploitation by capitalism and global patriarchy end up being in prostitution hence increasing the chances of producing yet another social problem of HIV/AIDS (Bauman, 1992).
At a global level, the exploitative Transnational companies (TNCs) cause abject poverty for women. For example, Women who work in cell phone and other electronic gadgets are exploited by these companies (Elson, 1981). The case of nimble fingers allows women to be employed on a massive scale but with very poor wages. The money they were getting was defined as lipstick money. Thus, the conflict perspective implicates the global capitalist system for causing poverty and underdevelopment of the third world countries.
The Marxist perspective also implicates the distribution of the health care system as an economic organization which emphasizes surplus value. The power invested in the medical profession and the capital hub the pharmaceuticals exploits the poor and thus...

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