Marx proposed that an understanding of the mechanics of economics was necessary to understand changes in history. He borrowed ideas to shape his own utopian world view, and he chose to study Auguste Comte, Georg Hegel, and Adam Smith.
Comte believed that thought progresses with the material world. Being a Positivist, he claimed that man was governed by natural law. Comte also believed that society was independent of man, and society was driven by law.
Hegel noted that private property caused problems because it involved the division of labor. Every epoch had its own tools which were the basis of the social and economic relations, and change occurred when the tools changed. Man must superimpose his will over the progress in order to bring about revolution. Marx could not reconcile Hegel with Comte because if the process was driven by law, then man could not change the process. So Marx redefined the dialectic instead.
Smith believed that the division of labor was an arrangement that evolved throughout history as part of the political economy. Marx changed a man’s labor into a commodity, so man’s labor was no longer attached to the epoch’s tools. Since the laborers did not own the products, it created conflict.
Classical literature also influenced Marx as he borrowed from Prometheus. Prometheus flew in the fact of constituted authority, and for that reason he was alienated. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx used the idea of Prometheus when he wrote “you have nothing to lose but your chains.”
Marx incorporated these ideas to create communism. Communism was the resolution of the conflict derived from worker alienation. Once man realized that economics drove the dialectic then man was in a position to make changes. In reality, Marx’s utopia could not exist because Marx said man must change the economic laws which bind him, but a true law cannot be changed or else it ceases to be a law.
– Hannah S. Bowers