Economic determinism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Economic determinism is a socioeconomic theory that economic relationships (such as being an owner or capitalist, or being a worker or proletarian) are the foundation upon which all other societal and political arrangements in society are based. The theory stresses that societies are divided into competing economic classes whose relative political power is determined by the nature of the economic system. In the version associated with Karl Marx, the emphasis is on the proletariat who are considered to be locked in a class struggle with the capitalist class, which will eventually end with the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and the gradual development of socialism. Marxist thinkers have dismissed plain and unilateral economic determinism as a form of "vulgar Marxism", or "economism", nowhere included in Marx's works.

In the writing of American history the term is associated with historian Charles A. Beard (1874–1948), who was not a Marxist but who emphasized the long-term political contest between bankers and business interest on the one hand, and agrarian interests on the other.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Economic determinism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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