It is traditionally believed that Marx and Engels were opposed to capitalism, which implies that they were against the Industrial Revolution, but an argument can be made that they believed industrialization was good for the ultimate benefit of mankind. In fact, the Communist Manifesto is clear in indicating that industrialization was a process that led to the overall improvement of society in doing away with the hardships of the majority of the population (Hunt et al, 2004).
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Karl Marx has outlined in the Communist Manifesto his observations in regard to the historical aspects of the bourgeoisie era and its connection with the doctrine of industrial capitalism. Marx has commented that industrial capitalism takes different tenors and in some respects views it as useful and remarkable. Nevertheless, he speaks about destroying the system primarily because of its ruthlessness and manifestation of society. Marx ultimately believes that industrialization is imperative in bringing about the destruction of such a process. Marx has admired industrial capitalism as being a phenomenal constituent of society in saying that modern industry has led to the development of the global markets. For example, the development of the markets in China and East Asia and the increased trading between colonies that were led by the colonization of America resulted in a new life being given to industry, navigation and commerce. Such developments not only led to an increase in the scope of industrialization but also improved communicative means on land such as the rapid expansion of the railways.
The Communist Manifest characterized industry as a revered and extraordinary force. By the process of industrialization, the bourgeoisie had demonstrated how such activities can bring about wonders for mankind that exceed achievements such as the Pyramids of Egypt or the Gothic Cathedrals. Additionally, industrialization has brought about productive forces that are far superior to previous generations. In the viewpoint of Marx, such forces include the invention of machinery, the application of new technologies in agriculture and industrialization, the telegraph and steam navigation. Marx felt that this unique force enabled society to improve in several ways. The establishment of large cities as created by industrialization assisted a substantial part of the population in getting away from the unproductive lifestyles in rural areas. Moreover, the rapid introduction of productive and communication processes converted the majority including the most brutal nations into civilized lot. It is clear from the Communist Manifesto that industrialization was a positive and beneficial influence on the new bourgeoisie orders. But despite the accomplishments emanating from such capitalist ways, Marx has promoted the obliteration of capitalism in view of its damaging influence on society (Wilson, 2009).
Marx has welcomed the destruction of capitalism for different reasons. He believed that capitalism makes objects out of the people, mainly workers. According to him, it is the naked self-interest that reigns supreme and that the personal value of people has been converted into being a means of exchange. Marx does not favour capitalism because the family loses its emotional values and becomes mainly concerned with relationships led by concerns for money. He says that children too have been converted into objects of business and tools of labour while wives have been viewed as a means to only produce children. Marx also believed that capitalism leads to fluctuations in markets which have a direct and adverse bearing on the levels of employment.
- Hunt Lynn, Martin Thomas, Rosenwein Barbara H, R. Po-chia Hsia, Bonnie G. Smith, The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures, 2004, Bedford/St. Martin’s
- Wilson Richard, Communist Manifesto Analysis.