karl marx theory on education
Russian Chilren, from Six Red Months in Russia, Louise Bryant 1918
Soviet Education, from Russia in 1919, Arthur Ransome
Education and Culture, My Disillusionment in Russia, Emma Goldman 1922
Children of Revolution, Anna-Louise Strong 1925
Education in Soviet Russia, The First Time in History, Anna-Louise Strong 1925
The Revolution in Education and Culture, Soviet Russia: a living record and a history, Wm Chamberlin 1929
Family Relations Under the Soviets, Trotsky 1932
The Marxist approach to education is broadly constructivist, and emphasises activity, collaboration and critique, rather than passive absorption of knowledge, emulation of elders and conformism; it is student-centred rather than teacher centred, but recognises that education cannot transcend the problems and capabilities of the society in which it is located.
Traditional Marxists see the education system as working in the interests of ruling class elites. According to the Marxist perspective on education, the system performs three functions for these elites:
- There is an overwhelming wealth of evidence that schools do reproduce class inequality because the middle classes do much better in education because the working classes are more likely to suffer from material and cultural deprivation. Meanwhile, the middle classes have more material capital, more cultural capital (Reay) and because the 1988 Education Act benefited them (Ball Bowe and Gewirtz),
- The existence of private schools is strong supporting evidence for Marxism – the wealthiest 7% of families are able to buy their children a better education which in turn gives them a better chance of getting into the top universities.
- There is strong evidence for the reproduction of class inequality if we look at elite jobs, such as Medicine, the law and journalism. A Disproportionately high number of people in these professions were privately educated.
McLelland, D. (1995 Karl Marx: A biography 3e, London: Macmillan. 464 pages. Something of a standard work and includes a postscript, ‘Marx today’.
But along with the development of the bourgeoisie who own the means of production we find the development of the proletariat – the propertyless working class. With the evolution of modern industry, Marx pointed out that workmen became factory fodder, appendages to machines. Men were crowded into factories with army-like discipline, constantly watched by overseers and at the whim of individual manufacturers. Increasing competition and commercial crises led to fluctuating wages whilst technological improvement led to a livelihood that was increasingly precarious. The result was a growth in the number of battles between individual workmen and individual employers whilst collisions took on more and more “the character of collisions between two classes”. Marx and Engels characterize the growth of the working class as a “more or less veiled civil war raging within existing society” but unlike previous historical movements which were minority movements, the working class movement is “the self-conscious independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority”. The conclusion they drew from this was that the overthrow of bourgeois supremacy and a victory for the working class would not, therefore, produce another minority ruling class but “in place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition of the free development of all”.
Section 5 focuses on the actual production process of labour power. It provides some preliminary investigations into the social production of labour power in capitalism. Furthermore, it indicates how capitalist education and training enter into the analysis: as institutional forms within the social production of labour power. The social production of labour power is a process that can, in principle, be researched. Unlike surplus-value production, it lays much closer to the surface of capitalist society and can be observed more directly. Unlike surplus-value production (which is concentrated within the capitalist labour process), the social production of labour power is highly fragmented at the institutional and organisational level. In mainstream social and educational theory and research, such fragmentation is buttressed by multi-disciplinary fragmentation. The multitudinous disciplines and sub-disciplines of bourgeois social science function to hide or mask the social production of labour power in capitalism (Shaw, 1975). This section speculates on methods for researching the social production of labour power in contemporary capitalist society whilst holding no illusions that mainstream social research funders will take up research proposals that allow Marxist researchers to put this into practice, with a good will.
by my own research;
From 1911 to 2000 there has been a long term trend for the proportion of non-manual jobs to increase and manual jobs to decrease. In 2000 49% of all workers had manual jobs whereas in 1911 79% were in manual employment. There have been marked increases in professional, managerial and routine non-manual work. This shift has been caused due to the decline of manufacturing and the growth of services. Coalmining, steel manufacture, shipbuilding and dock work declined, partly due to new technology has increased productivity so that fewer workers are needed to produce the same amount of goods. Also Britain has lost out in competition with business in lower wage economies such as Latin America, Easterner European and Far East. The old working class employed in coalmining etc now are employed in supermarkets, security firms, contract cleaners and fast foods – the new working class (Roberts 2001).
In 1911 the richest 5% of the country owned 87% of the countries personal wealth. By 1930 this had decreased slightly to 84% then by 1954 had decreased even more to 71%. This was a slight increase by 1960 with the richest 5% of the country 75% of the countries personal wealth. In 1911 the richest 1% owned 69% of the countries personal wealth. By 1936 this had gone down to 56% then by 1960 this had decreased to 42% of the countries personal wealth.