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Kuyper Against Marx Essay

2066 words - 9 pages

The Industrial Age brought much hunger, poverty, and despair with its many technological innovations aimed to make man’s life better. Although Kuyper and Marx agreed that social conditions in the Industrial Age were not acceptable, they differed on the cause and solution to the poverty and despair in the modern world. Kuyper’s approach to the problem of poverty is like minimally invasive surgery, less damaging but more time-intensive. Marx’s approach, however, is like amputation with no cauterization, quick but with little chance of recovery. Marx seeks to heal a wound by creating another; Kuyper seeks to heal through correcting the heart of his age.
In Marx’s opinion, the cause of ...view middle of the document...

Not only are the bourgeois the factory owners that with exploitation employ the proletariat, they are also the ones that sell the proletariat everything they own. The bourgeois control the proletariat’s housing, food supply, and other basic needs while extorting vast sums from the proletariat’s meager wages in return. The proletariats had little hope of rising, and the lesser bourgeois were sucked into the proletariat as they were consumed by the expansion of other bourgeoisie’s businesses. All of this is the fault of the bourgeoisie’s grasping for power and suppression of the rightful state of man, claims Marx.
Kuyper also recognizes the social problems of the Industrial Age, but he attributes the cause of the poverty to individual greed, misguided thinking, and human sinfulness rather than a widespread clash between social classes. To Kuyper’s mind, the problem is not with the system itself but rather with the individual people within the system. He remarks that throughout history those in power have, despite often honorable intentions, been led astray until social norms and the administration of justice became twisted and cruel. It is the actions of these individuals and of others wicked enough to take advantage of such injustice, not a widespread plot to suppress the working class, which have created the unspeakable atrocities of the Industrial Age. He blames the ideals of the French Revolution for the current despair of the masses.
Kuyper claims that certain individuals in every society of every age have always been able to twist society into their own control. This is not because the higher class is inherently worse than the lower class, says Kuyper, but because of the sinfulness and greed of man when given power. He defends this claim by mentioning that no sooner does a person of the lower class rise than they also abuse the class that was formerly their own. Christian’s unwillingness and slowness to act is also a large part of the problem. The problem is not that man’s rightful state is suppressed, but rather that man’s rightful state has been corrupted and lost due to the fall.
Marx’s solution to poverty and social injustice is Communism. The principles of Communism as listed in the Communist Manifesto are: elimination of private land ownership, graduated or progressive income tax, elimination of inheritance rights, confiscation of rebel and emigrant property, state control of money and credit, state control of manufacture and agriculture, universal labor, combination of agriculture and manufacture leading to no distinction between urban and rural, population spread out over the country, free education, proper child labor. By centralizing all power, capital, and property in the state, theoretically all power, capital, and property would belong to all citizens equally. If the state controls all manufacturing and agriculture, and if all citizens are required to work, than theoretically the workers will not be mistreated...

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