According to Marx, social classes can be defined by their relationships to the means of production. In his approach, he defines two classes in the industrial society; these classes are, the capitalist class (or bourgeoisie) and working class (or proletariat). He defines bourgeoisie as a class that owns the means of production like factories. On the other hand, he describes working class as the class of these people who sell their labor to the owners of means of production, in order to get wages and salaries. Marx maintained that, in capitalist society, small businesses lose out in competition while large businesses concentrate ownership in a small capitalist class of monopoly capitalists. Application of sophisticated machines (new technologies) makes the gradation within the working class to fade in significance, since these machines perform the work that skilled workers used to do.
He also stated that, those people with a similar role in production can share political and economic interest, which can result to conflict with other participants in the production. For example, capitalists get profit by paying their workers low remuneration compared to the value of what they produce. Therefore, capitalists share a common interest in lowering wages and resisting laws that can boost unions’ power to press demands on employees.
Additionally, Marx found out that America bourgeoisie introduced technological innovations, accelerating expansion of trade and production and new forms of labor relations. As a result, feudal landowners felt that bourgeoisie threatened their interests and resisted change. This resulted to a series of political conflicts. Capitalist mode of production had resulted to the creation of new social class or working class with interests opposed to those of the bourgeoisie. This resulted to the conflict that made the capitalist economy inherently unstable and subject to depressions with massive unemployment. These economic crises widened the gap between the poor and rich. Marx stated that, capitalism’s dependence on market mechanisms built on individual greed resulted to the creation of an alienated existence for most members of the society. He believed that it was only under communism, where means of production can be controlled communally would these conditions be resolved. The state of proletarian majority made it capitalism’s deprived and alienated victim; this led to communist revolution.