Based on Hegel’s understanding of dialectical processes to the historical and empirical analysis of different forms of social and economic organization or “modes of production”, Marx developed his theory of historical materialism.
As history develops, socioeconomic forces of production are fundamental to the development of human societies. “Human beings make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given, and transmitted from the past (Denhardt, p.25).”
Marx states that the development of society and economy causes division of labor, where there are more products and services are required by people. Division of labor causes class conflicts and class consciousness. The highest authority and power, which guide the “modes of production”, is capitalism. In capitalism, those in dominant economic positions seek to reproduce and sustain their positions. People have to put up with their conditions. Individuals are not defined by their characters, but by their products.
Division of labor creates capitalism and causes class conflicts and struggles. As the development of division of labor, works and goods no longer belong to people, contrarily, people are classified by their works. The pursuing of freedom and autonomy, finally, awakened people consciousness—to struggle for their own history. As Max called the way that people examine their theories and practice—praxis.