Hobbes and Marx on the Quest for Power Analytical Essay by scribbler

Hobbes and Marx on the Quest for Power
A review of the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes and Karl Marx on power and the economic motivations behind the struggle for control.
# 153486 | 2,230 words | 16 sources | MLA | 2013 | US

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The paper reviews the various theories and philosophies on power and discusses Thomas Hobbes' negative view of mankind and his discussion on four real types of power. The paper also examines Karl Marx's view of history as a struggle for power that manifested itself as a continuous class struggle, and explains his functionalist approach to religion that sees it as an illusion to keep society functioning at the status quo. The paper points out that throughout history, there tends to be only one basic motivation for most human action and quests for power, and that is economic gain. The paper shows how resources have been the primary power struggle in almost every civilization recorded, and rather than the divine right, the state as "big-brother," or the political process as an outgrowth of individualism, it is the response to resources that holds the better argument for societal organization and evolution.

Background (State Power and Economic Power)
Theories of Power

From the Paper:

"The political and sociological aspect of power is the ability for an organization to control its own environment, including the behavior of other entities with which it reacts. Authority is seen as the perception of legitimate power by the social structure of dominant culture. Power can be, of course, seen as good or evil, but the exercise of power is both endemic and necessary for the modern state as we know it. Certainly within the paradigm of political and economic power there are various permutations that surround sources of power, the balance of power, and theories of power (Kuusisto).
"Balances of power are necessary within any reciprocal arrangement in order for statecraft to even exist: what are the relative strengths, weaknesses, and dimensions to a stable relationship? Given that power is never innate, and one must have some form of power currency to acquire power, then power must have some connotation and degree of unilateralism in order to even be a perceived tool. This brings to mind the basis for power and how it is held. Power may be held through delegated or forced authority (democratic or autocratic processes), social class or resource currency (material wealth), personal power or charisma (including celebrity and persuasion), moral persuasion (usually left for religion), or group dynamics (social influences, tradition, or culture) (Nolan)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Benes, T. "Language and the Cognitive Subject." Language and Communications 26.3-4 (2006): 218-30.
  • Cockayne, E. Hubbub: Flith, Noise and Stench in England, 1600-1770. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.
  • Frank, R. "It's Economics, Stupid: How Money Explains Everything." 28 March 2008. The Independent. May 2011 <http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/its-economics-stupid-how-money-explains-everything-1331428.html>.
  • French, J. and B. Raven. "The Bases of Social Power." Studies in Social Power. Ed. D. Cartwright. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1959.
  • Galbraith, J.K. The Anatomy of Power. New York: Mariner Books, 1985.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Hobbes and Marx on the Quest for Power (2013, June 05) Retrieved May 28, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/hobbes-and-marx-on-the-quest-for-power-153486/

MLA Format

"Hobbes and Marx on the Quest for Power" 05 June 2013. Web. 28 May. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/hobbes-and-marx-on-the-quest-for-power-153486/>