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Introduction to Marx and Engels“The Great Towns” from The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844
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
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
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 From the work of Utopianist Charles Fourier
Source of Significant Social Reforms•Protections for workers: safety