Class Consciousness and Contemporary U.S. Society

When interviewing different people about about their feelings of capitalism, each person gave relevant insight to the way they view capitalism and how they feel it encompasses free-markets, private property and governmental control and structure. When interviewing, I kept the questions pretty standard in order to not lead the different respondents into the context in which I was trying to relate. The questions I asked were as follows, What are you’re thoughts of capitalism? What aspects seem strong? What aspects seem weak? What are your thoughts and feelings of free markets/ private property? I was able to question three of my peers that are studying vastly different disciplines, I was also able to interview two of my family members.

The same aspects of the conversation kept reoccurring, which presented a lot of interesting conclusions.  The state of the economy and availability of jobs was brought into a lot of the conversations rather than the context of class consciousness. I was able to help direct the conversations in order to  gain information about the basic views of capitalism. When interviewing one respondent, she discussed growing up in a communist run governmental system and then moved to the United States, which was the most insightful interview I conducted. She discussed the amount of accountability that the government gave to individuals in order to contribute to society, but when she lived in a capitalist society there was much less accountability to individual contributions. “It is more of an environment that thrives on itself” this was interpreted by many respondents that capitalism was a curse and a blessing because it is dependent on the motivation of the individual and the ability to network.

Marx and Engels interpreted class consciousness as an awareness of the working class and their relationship to the means of production. They also stress the evolution of class conflict which is the struggle to control the forces of production and the distribution of resources and profits. he aspects of theory that Marx and Engels presented best represents the answers that I gathered from interviews were forces and relations of production, each respondent was able to discuss the aspects of the economy, those that own and those that work.  Even though it was not cut and dry, there was a distinguishable relationship which shows a sense of class consciousness as well as knowledge of forces of production.

By conducting these brief interviews I was able to gain insight not only into what my friends and family thought of a capitalistic society, but also the way the theoretical perspective of both Marx and Engles still resonates today, we still view society as run by those that own production more so than the notion of equal opportunity for everyone.

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