4 Socialism Intro
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Socialism is a controversial term that has different meanings to different people. Socialism is an economic philosophy that stresses public ownership of the means of production rather than private ownership. Underlying this philosophy is the belief that this system is morally better because it reduces the gap between the rich and poor. This more equitable distribution of the wealth should result in a better society for all.
Socialism can be divided into the categories Utopian
socialism Revolutionary socialism or Communism Evolutionary socialism or democratic Socialism
However one defines socialism, it is a philosophy that sprang up as a reaction to the abuses of the Industrial Revolution.
The advances, both scientific and technological, during the Industrial Revolution led people to believe that the problems of poverty, starvation, and suffering could be solved. John Stuart Mill observed, although the problems or production had been solved, those of distribution had not.
motivation of self-interest and competition did not always benefit society.
It became obvious to some that when individuals were freed from all control and regulation, abuses did occur. The factory system during the (ind rev) led to many abuses, such as low pay, long hours of work, and hazardous working conditions.
The Enlightenment was a movement that grew out of a concern for people and their environment. Followers of the Enlightenment believed that a perfect person could be created if one could create the perfect environment. Thus ideal political, economic, and social institutions were needed to create perfect people. (Utopian Socialism) When the French Revolution did not achieve all the goals that some people felt it should have, there was a call for radical change. A number of French Intellectuals examined the possibilities of creating perfect people
Emil Babeuf: proposed the nationalization of business, provision of adequate food and clothing for the people, and the raising of children in communes. Comte Henri de Saint Simon: saw a society ran by economic experts. Public ownership would be stressed and individuals would work according to their abilities and be rewarded based on that service Charles Fourier: suggested a society centered around cooperative economic communities. According to his theory, several hundred people would live in communal housing and work the surrounding land.
Louis Blanc: tried to achieve his utopia be reforming the existing political and economic systems of his time. Blanc’s society would be centered on what he called social workshops. It was Blanc who first used the statement “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Pierre Joseph Proudhon: often called the father of Anarchism, advocated the abolition of all formal institutions and the organization of society cased on cooperative effort without formal government. Robert Owen: After purchasing part ownership of a cotton mill, Owen made sweeping reforms in the nearby village. Owen established standards of sanitation, housing, and education in order to create a more acceptable environment.
Revolutionary Socialism Karl Marx rejected Utopian Socialism in favor of what he called Scientific Socialism. Marx felt that there would be not hope for the workers unless capitalism was overthrown through revolution.
Marx was born in Germany in 1818 into a large and prosperous family. In 1835 he entered university to study law. Upon completing his degree, Marx abandoned his career in favor of journalism. Marx became the editor of a radical newspaper in Berlin After moving to Paris, Marx met and became friends with a young German economist Friedrich Engels. It was in Paris that the two became actively involved in the socialism movement. In 1848, at the request of the Communist League, the two went to London to present a paper outlining the aims of the the League.
The Communist Manifesto lit a revolutionary fire that was to fuel the development of revolutionary socialism (Communism) Marx lived his remaining years in London, often in poverty and failing health. Marx continued to write, completing the first volume of Das Kapital and contributing to the subsequent two volumes. Marx died in 1883.