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Marx, Weber, and Wallerstein


            Marx, Weber, and Wallerstein: Theories on Social Change.
             The twentieth century has been an age full of political and social change. From the turn of the century different groups have struggled to explain these changes through various belief systems and social theories. The first substantial theorists on social change were Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels who co-wrote The Communist Manifesto. They detailed economic history from feudalist, to capitalist, and to the possible future of socialism. It was argued that through revolution the dominant classes must be dislodged and everything redistributed. Their view was that any industrial state could do this within their own country. Max Weber threw a whole wrench in the cogs. He saw the world as being more based on geo-politics. This meant that states are in conflict with each other. Thus, what happens in one state usually is affected by other things in the world rather than just the socio-economic conditions in that country. Immanuel Wallerstein then appropriated Marxist ideas and intermixed them with Weber and many other social theorists to come up with a world system theory to explain how social change occurs. Where Marx was concerned with revolution on a state level, Weber was more concerned with geo-politics. Wallerstein went even further by using aspects of both Marx and Weber to better explain social change.
             Karl Marx was a nineteenth century praxis philosopher whose theories explicitly outlined both the means and the end of social change. He believed in methodological materialism, which means that material reality is the basis of society, economy, and politics. He thought that existence determined consciousness. At the time Marx was alive the industrial revolution was in full swing. He believed in economic determinism, meaning that any nation at an advanced technological stage could and should evolve into socialistic states.


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