Bella Weis- Period 3-
The concept that marriage should be based on love instead of an economic transaction is a rather new idea. Up until modern times, people married for the sake of economic well-being. Royal families kept the money in the family by marrying cousins and parents aimed to marry off their daughter to a wealthy family with a substantial dowry. These customs have dramatically changed. In America today, most people marry for love instead of for money. According to the Pew Research Center, 93% of married Americans married for love while only 31% married for financial stability (1). Karl Marx opposes this trend in The Communist Manifesto. He claims that, “The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production” (2). Karl Marx argues that the bourgeois husband uses his wife as a means of production, only to gain something on the cost of her labor. The image of marriage is very misleading to the Proletariat, they try to mirror the bourgeois and fail because they look for marriage in the wrong places. The Proletariat sees the husband and the wife, and in return looks to create a family in hopes of achieving the same status as the bourgeois man. What the Proletariat does not know is that marriage and children are very costly and actually decrease man’s chance at rising up in social status. Although Karl Marx is in favor of eliminating the classes altogether by eliminating Bourgeois property, which his family also is a part of, the smarter economical decision for the Proletariat man is to not seek for marriage based on love, but seek for marriage based on financial stability. This will increase the Proletarian man’s capital since he will not have to spend any of his wealth on depending family members, and give him the opportunity to rise in social status. An article by the Today Show exposed that middle class families actually struggle more today than ever. Elizabeth Warren writes, “How today’s parents are working harder than ever and falling desperately behind even with two incomes” (3). Parents have mortgages, school tuition, car payments, health insurance and many more expenses to cover not only for themselves but for their children. That is exactly why, “There were over 1.6 million bankruptcy filings last year” (4). Daily life is getting more and more expensive for middle class, Proletariat families each year and that is why they must not fall for Bourgeois traps but think for their own benefit. Marriage based on love is really a luxury, and if a lower class member of society is already struggling financially, marriage will not relieve the struggle. In contrast to Marx’s suggestion of eliminating the Bourgeoisie, the Proletariat must rise in social status and acquire more capital by marrying for financial stability instead of love.
D’Vera Cohn, Love and Marriage (Pew Research Center: Social and Demographic Trends, 2013)
Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto (Chapter II)
Elizabeth Warren, “Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke” (Today, 2003)
Warren, “Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke”
Figure 1. Karl Marx Peace Sign (Socialist Alliance)