The ideology of communism, to which Marx and Engels believe in, holds that all people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labour, but a capitalistic economic system prevents them from doing so. This divides society into two classes of people: the nonworking owners and the nonowning workers. This brings about a struggle between the classes which is limited by the mode of production which in essence determines the social struggle. This struggle propels change. Marx and Engels therefore believed that all history is the history of the class struggle and its outcome will be revolution. They agreed that capitalism brings about large-scale economic and social development but argued that it had conditions which hampered its development. This essay is therefore going to try to see if these two men would agree that industrialization was a positive development.
The Communist Manifesto
This is one of the most important political documents ever written. By mid of the nineteenth century, Marx and Engels believed that time had come for working class people to rebel against the wealthier ruling class. They so that there was need for a more just and equitable political system, and therefore they advise people in the manifesto that change is looming inform of communism, and call on all who feel are suffering in the current regimes to action (Marx and Engels par 1).
They believed the industrial revolution led to the deteriorating of living standards of the working population and improving those of the owners of the factories. This was because; men and women including children were being employed in factories and industries thus disturbing the social function of the family, in other words, families were slowly by slowly being abolished. This is where Engels comes in; he defends the family as the basis of society. He sees that abolition of the family will bring demoralizing consequences. He says that employment of a woman leaves her with no time to look after her family. She eventually becomes a stranger to her own family. He goes on to say that the same happens when children are employed to work in the factories. But Marx calls for the abolition of the family in the communist manifesto. He believes that the bourgeois family founded on capital and private gain. Marx trusts that capital will vanish with the abolition of the family. One discovers that there are contradicting views here, Engels believes in communism, and communism advocates for the abolition of the family. This brings Engels attack on the factory system as the cause of the dissolution of the family to have no relevancy. This in essence shows that they supported the factory system to some extent (Help, p. 5 & 9).
Marx also thought that capitalism can stimulate significant growth because capitalists can, and have incentives to, reinvest proceeds in new technologies. He considered the capitalist class to be the most revolutionary in history, because it improved the means of production constantly. Marx does not out rightly dismiss capitalism, but says that it is prone to periodic crises. He sees capitalists investing more and more in new technologies and less in labour in the coming future. He saw that severe crises will create a cycle of growth, collapse, and more growth. All these are indeed a clear indication that Marx recognized the positive changes that are brought about by capitalism. This is again confirmed when he wrote in his “Critique of the Gotha Program”, “Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other” (Marx/Engels, p. 15). He acknowledges the mutual existence of the two.