MarxEng1 - Introduction to Marx and Engels The Great Towns...

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Introduction to Marx and Engels “The Great Towns” from The Condition of the Working  Class in England  in 1844
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Background to Essays by Marx and Engels (M/E) Appalled by living and working conditions of the new, industrial working class industrial capitalism had created extreme differences between the rich and poor M/E believed there had to be a socially just way to organize industrial production and distribute wealth Concentrated their intellectual energies on understanding the dynamics and contradictions of industrial capitalist societies Many significant social reforms (esp. in Europe) emerged out of socialist labor
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Extremely Influential Scholarship Marx/Engels’ research on capitalism and thoughts about society have influenced many fields: economics: e.g., how does capitalism work; what social and economic contradictions arise from capitalist production sociology: how should people organize their relations with each other; what are sources of social change philosophy: what is human nature; what comprises human happiness; where do our ideas about ourselves and our society come from When contemporary sociologists use Marxist theory, they usually apply Marxist principles to the analysis of capitalism in present society (less emphasis on
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Vision of Socialist Society Relatively Vague Many utopian writers at the time imagined the content of an society; Marx and Engels’ vision of socialism left many unanswered questions Understood that a different type of human being would be developed in the transition to a socialist society Believed that capitalism encouraged people to develop competitive, self-interested, and acquisitive personality traits Socialism would encourage people to develop co- operative traits based on concern for and full membership within one’s society From the work of Utopianist Charles Fourier
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Reforms Protections for workers : safety regulations, minimum wage, length of workday, job benefits, prohibition of child labor) Welfare state protections : unemployment insurance, right to unionize, social security for old
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MarxEng1 - Introduction to Marx and Engels The Great Towns...

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