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Theory of power and the state

According to Karl Marx power, the ability of some people to exert their will over other people, derived from the economic base of society. In capitalist society, the owners of the means of production clearly had industrial power; they could determine what to produce, how much to produce, whom to employ, how many to employ and where to employ them. Their incomes could shape a distinctive lifestyle of themselves and their families. They could purchase opportunities for their children in business, in careers and in education.  Karl Marx pointed out that an examination of laws passed, court decisions made, arrests made etc. showed that the influence of the bourgeoisie in the defense and extension of their interests was far reaching. Karl Marx argued that the state could be seen as the executive committee of the bourgeoisie. Time after time laws and their enforcement tended always to penalize the proletariat in the interests of the bourgeoisie. Only after massive struggles could the proletariat achieve any favorable decisions which improved their lives under capitalism. Without constant vigilance, concessions and improvements tended to be quietly removed over time. The treatment of the proletariat in this manner was not due to any massive conspiracy on the part of the bourgeoisie. Rather in pursuing their own interests and ideals and in ensuring that people in key and official positions would do likewise, the bourgeoisie were genuinely convinced that their way of thinking about the world was right. To their minds, it was the only true way of thinking about the world. Thus, industrialists believed that industrial production was threatened, and the country was in danger when the workers eventually succeeded in reducing the working day to 14 hours and when eventually women and children were forbidden to go down the mines.