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The concept of ideology helps explain how groups protect their advantages. Ideologies are seemingly commonsense views justifying the existing state of affairs. Ideologies reflect the viewpoints of the dominant groups and disguise their advantages.

Often the disadvantaged buy into the ideologies as well. For example many believe that a free marketplace allows workers the option to strike or quit their jobs if they are dissatisfied with working conditions. On close analysis, however, this assumption falls apart.

If employers and workers cannot reach a labor agreement, the employer "can afford to wait." The employee who has "but wages to live upon, must take work when, where, and at what terms he can get it. The workman . . . is fearfully handicapped by hunger" (Engels 1886).

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