Western Civilization Essay Example

Published: 2019-08-16
Western Civilization Essay Example
Categories:  Economics Political science Karl Marx
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1180 words
10 min read

While there are many benefits that are associated with capitalism, it is important to understand the various dehumanizing effects of capitalism. Bureaucracy, on the other hand, is another factor that has caused suffering to the people in the society. All these are part of western civilization ideas that are assumed to be helpful to the modern society. There has been a criticism of these ideas by various theorists, and this is why the research paper seeks to evaluate the ideas further. The paper is to discuss the dehumanizing effects of bureaucracy and capitalism.

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First, capitalists do not care about relationships, and this is why they only concentrate on the production of goods and services. Cowling, & Marx (1998) argues that "The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation." This shows that the capitalists ensure that employees work for more hours in companies and ignores the relations that employees should have with their families. This means that children spend less time with their parents hence fail to develop appropriately.

Another challenge relates to the increased dependence in the society. The increase in town populations means that the people in the rural areas highly depend on those in the urban areas. Cowling, & Marx (1998) states that Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West." This means that the developing nations depend highly on the developed nations, and the peasant farmers depend heavily on their government. This has been caused by the capitalist ideals that ignore the development of the rest of the society. It shows the inhuman nature of the capitalist ideals that do not support sharing of resources with those who are less fortunate.

Cowling, & Marx (1998) hints that capitalism has its own weapons of distraction in the statement But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons the modern working class the proletarians." The reason is that as the capitalists exploit the employees, they forget that the salaries they pay are important in facilitating demand in the economy. As the capitalists produce more and pay less to the laborers, the demand in the economy reduces, and since the capitalists cannot sell their products, this will lead to a crisis where there is no production and goods available cannot be sold.

Technology has also greatly changed the way production is done. Cowling, & Marx (1998) states that, Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman." This means that capitalists prefer using machines as much as possible because this reduces the production costs. The capitalists do not understand that they have employees who have supported their company operations over a long period. It is very inhuman to send employees home after they have served a company for many years. The greed that capitalists have does not recognize that there is a need to respect the employees and ensure that they are offered a job for their own survival. This causes a crisis in economies when a huge number of people are layed off just because new machines have been invented to perform tasks that human beings were performing before.

Bureaucracy involves unreasonable procedures that one has to pass through before receiving services. Bureaucracy can be inhumane as illustrated in "heart of darkness" story.

First, the story shows how various professions are bureaucratic. An example includes doctors and lawyers who instead of helping individuals, they have to follow certain procedures. In the story, the author states that "The old doctor felt my pulse, evidently thinking of something else the while. This illustrates a doctor examining a patient, taking notes instead of helping the patient in any way, he has to write various notes, ask a lot of questions and do a lot of examination before they can offer immediate help. This is inhuman especially when patients are suffering and assistance is needed urgently before questioning or performing all examinations on them.

In other instances, organizations have complex procedures where specific people have to respond to certain problems, and no one else can offer help. In the story, Mr. Kurtz who is in the coastal region doing nothing has to be waited for to respond to an accident that had led to destruction of property. His juniors could not clearly tell where he was because of the bureaucratic procedures. The junior responds by saying 'How can I tell?' I said. 'I haven't even seen the wreck yet -- some months, no doubt." It shows how inhuman the bureaucracy is such that it does not care about emergencies involving accidents where individuals are victims. People have to wait for many days before they receive assistance just because some individual is not in the office.

Some professions also have requirements that are very unreasonable. Instead of judging individuals on the basis of their performance, individuals are judged on the basis of how well they are dressed. Accountants have to be neat regardless of the fact that they cannot offer any assistant immediately when there is a need. The statement His starched collars and got-up shirt-fronts were achievements of character (Conrad, 1996). In the story illustrates an accountant who is always neat and well dressed but does not perform his duties well as an accountant. However, he is thought to be very successful because of his dress code, forgetting the humane aspect of helping the society he/she serves. Bureaucracy evaluates success from a different point of view and does not consider the issue of helping or serving customers seriously.

The people in professions such as accountancy view themselves to be very special, to the extent that they do not care for those suffering. In the story, a sick man in bed close to the accountants office makes an accountant very angry. In the story, the author argues When a truckle-bed with a sick man (some invalid agent from upcountry) was put in there, he exhibited a gentle annoyance (Conrad, 1995). Such a person does not care about the suffering individuals in the society and shows the great extent to which people have been made to view themselves as special people in the bureaucratic society.

In conclusion, the bureaucracy has no advantages at all. It causes suffering for individuals and makes lives of people in the society more difficult. People meant to help others do not because they put procedures before their expected humanitarian acts.


Conrad, J., Lyon, J., Conrad, J., & Conrad, J. (1995). Youth: Heart of Darkness ; The end of the tether. London: Penguin Books.

Conrad, J., & University of Virginia. (1996). Heart of darkness. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Library.

Cowling, M., & Marx, K. (1998). The Communist manifesto: New interpretations. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

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