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19th Century Social Theory: Socialists Essay

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Updated: Apr 18th, 2021

Introduction

Socialism developed from the social conditions and events of the early 19th century due to the impact of the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution resulted in the emergence of capitalism. The socialists of the 19th century can be divided into two categories: the Utopian and scientific socialists. In regards to the Utopian socialists, they came up with various ideologies to transform capitalist society by trying their ideals of constructing model colonies.

Their influence was most felt in the United States. This was attributed to land availability, where hundreds of Utopians formed communes in the 19th century. On the other hand, scientific socialists were the most successful socialists compared to the Utopian socialists. Their influence in the field of economics and sociology amongst other fields is still felt to date. Karl Marx is one of the most renowned scientific socialists. He regarded socialism as the lowest form of communism. His idea portrayed socialism as a bridge of moving towards communism from capitalism.

19th Century Social Theory

These socialists believed in transforming the economy through collective social controls. They strongly advocated for public ownership of the economic aspects. They also wanted the planning and control of the economy to be done from a central place. In addition, the distribution was to be based on the number of production efforts of individuals. In regard to capitalism, the working class individuals are dominated by the wealthy elites who own the majority of resources and the means of production. In addition, they oppress their workers by paying them small wages in a bid to increase wealth and make significant profits.

In turn, this leads to monopoly and inequality amongst the social classes. Socialism was embraced to mitigate these differences and improve them by lowering the conflicts between the two parties. Many movements across the world, especially in Europe, embraced socialism leading to uprisings and protests amongst the working class and labor unions. As a result, socialism was dominant in the Soviet Union and China.

However, the results of socialism were not as expected. The social, racial, national, and regional differences continued to persist and worsened in some situations. The socialism system rapidly advanced to become totalitarianism. This was propagated by the centralized organization. The centralized organizations stole all the power of the working class and utilized it for personal interests, thus transforming the economy back to capitalism.

In turn, this had negative impacts on the economy. The economic injustice continued to persist. Socialists assumed that people would abide by their own working class. However, they were influenced by their national states. On the contrary, socialism had positive impacts on the economy. The working conditions and living standards of the people improved. For example, incomes increased, and food prices declined. Despite the equality amongst workers, socialism did not influence the motivation of workers. In this case, the benefits derived from worker’s hard work were equalized in all workers. In return, this led to lower productivity among workers.

Conclusion

Today, the forces of socialism still persist. These forces may be dismissed considering the insignificant players, but they are strong in terms of ideology. Today, the main reason for its insignificant influence is due to the lack of a good example of a well established socialist system to follow. The existing powerful socialist system ended up becoming totalitarian. After the failure of socialism, socialism has been associated with negative aspects. In addition, the countries embracing socialism are performing poorly economically.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "19th Century Social Theory: Socialists." April 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/19th-century-social-theory-socialists/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '19th Century Social Theory: Socialists'. 18 April.

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