Karl Marx and Communism . Beliefs expressed in The Communist Manifesto . Karl Marx . German political thinker in 19 th century . Journalist Did most of his work in Britain. Influenced by German philosopher Hegel.
Beliefs expressed in The Communist Manifesto
German political thinker in 19th century.
Did most of his work in Britain.
Influenced by German philosopher Hegel.
Published Communist Manifesto in 1848 with co-author Frederick Engels.
Wrote multi-volume Capital (Das Kapital), starting in 1867.
Marx studied British economic records for 20 years to develop his theory that everything is based on the economic system, including: politics, law, social structures, family relations,
even religious belief.
‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” - Karl Marx
Communism - a government where people shared work fairly and were paid equally.
The word “Communism” comes from the Latin word “Communis” which means common or belonging to all.
The Goal of Communism is to get rid of social classes and make everything fair for everyone.
Marx believed that in most societies, the rich get rich, while the poor get poorer.
‘The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range.” – Marx
Economic while the poor get poorer. systems go through historic cycles. Over time, an economic system becomes rigid and cannot adjust to new technologies, so a new system emerges, with new class relations and oppression.
Someday, a perfect classless society will emerge and there will be no further cycles.
1. Slave system gave way to feudal economy
2. Feudal economy broke down with growth of manufacturing, towns, navigation & transportation, emergence of middle class
3. Industrial capitalism emerged, with only two classes: proletariat and bourgeoisie.
“The bourgeoisie … has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from theidiocy of rural life…. The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productiveforces than have all preceding generations together… railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization of rivers.”
Capitalism creates huge factories. Workers become concentrated and begin to organize for legal reforms (higher wages/better working conditions). Their effort fails.
Fierce competition between capitalists leads to new technologies, which leads to lower costs.
In the competition, some capitalists go bankrupt & have to become workers, and many workers lose their jobs as new technology replaces them.
(Consider reports that U.S. workers’ productivity is going up. Fewer workers are making more goods, which means technology is replacing them.)