5 Important Principles of Marxist Ethics – Explained!

Major principles of Marxist ethics, are as follows: (1) Theory of Equality, (2) Theory of Freedom, (3) Theory of Progress, (4) Theory of Identity of Ends and Means, and (5) Approximation of Armed Revolt.

1. Theory of Equality:

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Equality implies the uprooting of economic classes. All should work equally and receive equal wages. And only communism can achieve this equality of labour and wages. The socialist order is only a step in the same progress. Communism recognizes the difference in powers of individuals, thus equality has been limited to the economic field.

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2. Theory of Freedom:


According to Hegel, freedom lies in the recognition of necessity. In the words of Angles, “Freedom is not achieved by escaping natural laws. Freedom is in understanding them and making use of them towards one’s own end.”

Some ethicists persist in distinguishing between social and individual freedom and reach social pleasure and freedom via the individual pleasure and freedom. But according to Marxism, real individual freedom necessitates equality and prosperity in society because the real meaning of freedom is economic freedom.

Only hi a communist state is the full development of powers of a person possible. For freedom it is essential to decrease the number of working hours in order that men may have adequate time for the enjoyment of Philosophy; poetry, art, etc and for the development of other faculties.

For this exploitation must end. It is in regard to working hours that the labourers make a communist struggle. Freedom is the basic pillar of morality. This is a process in which is implicit attempt for the attainment of ail human ends and aims.


All social justice, Penitence, wealth, safety and mental or physical progress-can is included in it the ethics of Marx, freedom does occupy an important place.

3. Theory of Progress:

The evolution of freedom is progressive. Three things are needed for this-(1) Progress of industry and technology. It can also be termed as an increase in the productive energy.

(2) Community control or authority over all conditions of production and distribution and over economic relations. (3) Development of human qualities by virtue of this authority.

Thus the real meaning of progress is proceeding towards freedom from dependence. In the dialectical evolution of the entire human history, this type of progress has been evident. Its goal is the establishment of a communist society.

4. Theory of unity of ends and means:


In this way, the ultimate end of a communist ethics is the establishment of classless economic society communist in nature. As Lenin puts it, “Communist morality is that which is useful in class antagonism, which ties the labourers in a bond of unity against the exploiters.”

Thus the Marxists do not hesitate in the use of any means. Contrary to the ethics of Gandhi etc., the superiority of means is determined by the superiority of ends in communist ethics. Thus, the Marxist adopts the road of class conflict and revolt.

This revolt is a technique. Lenin has arranged for a number of diversified laws for it. Naval, land and infantry force are to advance in an organized manner. Telephone exchange, telegraph office, railway station and bridges are to be captured even if it means sacrificing everything. According to Lenin it is creditable for a man to die but not to let the enemy advance.

5. Approximation of Armed Revolt:

In this way, Marx looks upon violent means as right and indispensable. Its propriety he concludes from the fact that it augments freedom. According to Marx, means and ends are correlated.

Both have internal identity. The question of the end deciding the propriety of means arises only upon forgetting this unity. Actually, this disparity of means and ends can be eliminated only in a communist state.

A decrease in the working hours is both a means and an end. In a practical way the communists present the argument that non-violent means can never persuade the capitalists to go without their surplus value. Thus armed revolt is the only approach.

According to Marx, the ancient ethics was either an individualist of bourgeois. It did not treat the welfare of all as a goal, hi it, the highest aim was not service of human beings but rather identification of self with God.

It was based on religion. Ancient ethics was based on exploitation. Thus Marxism considers it wrong. According to Marx the claim of ancient ethics about it being absolute was pure drivel.

Moral laws change with social progress. All ethical theories are relative, based on their individual, social and economic conditions. No ethics is absolute. But this does not mean that Marxism treats all ancient ethics as completely useless.

Every ethics is useful in its own peculiar social conditions. It is also related to communist ethics according to dialectical justice. Communist ethics is only a contradiction, negation and development of ancient ethics.

There was continuous evolution even in ancient ethics. From egoist end it came to altruism and from individual welfare to welfare of many and finally welfare of the maximum number possible. Marxism steps still further in the. Same evolution and looks upon benefit of whole as the goal.


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