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PSIR 1A-10.7 Karl Marx – Previous Year Questions & Answers

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Marx’s concept of ‘alienation’ is an essential part of the reality in capitalism. Explain. [2021/15m/200w/4b]

One of the most original contributions of Marx is his Theory of Alienation contained in his early work- Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts.

For Marx, alienation is – to be separated from one’s genuine or essential nature. Alienation under capitalism means that man is alienated in the workplace on a daily basis where he earns his livelihood.

Marx has explained four types of alienation in a workplace in the modern capitalist system. These are as follows, workers are alienated from, the product, labour process, fellow workers and themselves.

The division of labour in the modern capitalist system has detached the ties among the workers. They cannot share the secret of their work and be proud of their accomplishment because they don’t even know the complete proses of making the product and do not own the product. As a result, workers become alienated from their coworkers, they do not understand that, they are collectively responsible for the finished goods which leave the factory. They don’t know one another, they become strangers. They do not have a sense of solidarity with one another or loyalty to the factory.

The worst part is, the worker becomes alienated from himself because before realising his potential, he is involved in the process of the modern capitalist division of labour

The factories can be shifted as per the cheapness and convenience of the capitalist. The workers have no attachment to the product of their making. The parts are built in one place and put together in totally another country.

It is amazing to see that the concept of alienation proposed by Marx around 200 years ago is relevant event today. And this proves the transcendental nature of political ideas. [282 words]

2] Discuss Karl Marx’s concept of class. [2020/15m/200w/4c]

Karl Marx viewed class as a central feature of social organization and a key determinant of individuals’ positions and interests within society.

Marx conceptualized class as a social relationship that arises from the ownership or non-ownership of the means of production. In a capitalist society, the means of production, such as factories, land, and machinery, are privately owned by a minority capitalist class, while the majority of the population, the working class or proletariat, do not own these means but sell their labour power to the capitalists in exchange for wages.

For Marx, the class relations are characterized by inherent conflicts and contradictions. He posited that the interests of the capitalist class and the working class are fundamentally opposed. The capitalists aim to maximize profits and exploit the labour of the workers, while the workers seek better working conditions, higher wages, and ultimately the abolition of the capitalist system. This conflict between classes creates the basis for class struggle, which Marx saw as a driving force in historical change.

Marx believed that the working class, once it becomes aware of its exploitation and common interests, would develop class consciousness and unite to challenge the capitalist class, leading to a revolutionary transformation of society. Post-modernist and Dalit scholars in India criticize that Marx’s analysis overly simplifies class dynamics and neglects other social divisions such as race, gender, and ethnicity. Yet, Marx’s concept of class remains influential in understanding social inequality and capitalist societies, providing a framework for analyzing power relations and social struggles. [252 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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saurabh agrahari

very nice stuff.thank you