Difference Between Marxism and Liberalism

Marxism vs Liberalism

The difference between Marxism and Liberalism stems from the key idea around which each of these concepts are built. Both Marxism and Liberalism are concepts that are espoused by people all over the world. Marxism was introduced by Karl Marx to explain the changes and developments in the society as a result of the conflict between the elites and the working class people. Liberalism, on the other hand, emphasizes the idea of being free and equal with regard to certain concepts like religion, trade, political freedom, civil rights, etc. Marxism focuses more on establishing a classless society that is called the “Communism” and Liberalism is just a movement that stresses the freedom in behavior or attitudes of individuals. Let us look at these two ideologies; namely, Marxism and Liberalism, and the difference between them in detail.

What is Marxism?

Marxism refers to the political and economic theories brought out by Karl Marx, especially with regard to the capitalistic social structure. Marx analyzed the social structure based on the economic activities and, according to him, economy is one of the main requirements for humans to satisfy their needs. There are economic organizations that have been formed in such a way that they decide the social relations, ideologies, political and legal systems between social classes. The forces of production may have unequal relationships and profit sharing, which will lead them to the class struggle. The result of the class struggle will be the Socialism, which is said to have a cooperative ownership in production. However, later on, this Socialism will pave the way to Communism that is the ideal social structure in Marx’s point of view and there will neither be social classes nor states but the common ownership of the means of production. This is the simplest idea of Marxism and this theory has been applied in so many other subjects as well. However, it is said that there is no single definitive theory of Marxism.

Difference Between Marxism and Liberalism

Karl Marx

What is Liberalism?

Liberalism can be identified as a political philosophy that emphasizes the idea of being free and liberate. This idea of being free could be applied to many concepts and situations, but liberalists focus more on democracy, civil rights, property ownership, religion, etc., in general. It was during the period of Enlightenment that this philosophy of Liberalism came into the field. The philosopher called John Locke is said to have introduced this concept. Liberalists rejected the absolute monarchy, the state religion, and the immense power and authority of kings, etc. Instead of the monarchy, liberalists promoted democracy. However, Liberalism gained much attention after the French Revolution and today it is a powerful influencing political force throughout the world.

 Marxism vs Liberalism

John Locke

What is the difference between Marxism and Liberalism?

When we look at both these concepts, we can identify some similarities. Both have relationships with economic, political, and social aspects of a particular society. Both deal with the state of human beings living in the society.

• When we look at differences, we can see that Marxism is a theory whereas Liberalism is an ideology.

• Marxism talks of a social transition and in contrast Liberalism deals with the individual state of being.

However, both theses are very popular in the modern world and they are upheld by many communities around the world.


Images Courtesy: Karl Marx and John Locke via Wikicommons (Public Domain)