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During the late 1840s, the idea of communism had risen among the European powers. Communism is the idea of a movement that aims to overthrow the capitalist order by revolutionary means and to establish a classless society in which all goods would be socially owned. In 1847, a group of radical workers called the “Communist League” met in London. The league chose two new members, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, to write a manifesto on their behalf. This communist manifesto reflects an attempt to explain the goals of communism, as well as the theory underlying the communist movement.
Marx believed that society was divided into two opposing classes: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. These classes are defined as those who gain wealth (bourgeoisie) from the working class (proletariat). The bourgeoisie owned the means of production, so they would continue to gain wealth and power while the proletariat would spiral into an economic and social crisis. The bourgeoisie would continue to upgrade their factories with new technology and machinery which caused a lesser need for workers. This was putting the proletariat in an even worse position economically. Marx predicted that this capitalist way would soon crumble.
In the manifesto, Marx anticipates that communism is looming ahead and will cause a revolution that will overthrow economic forces, government forces, and social forces that exist in capitalist countries. Marx says that the proletariat will unify under communism and overthrow the bourgeoise. The proletariat would become tired of working so hard in the factories owned by members of the bourgeoisie that they would eventually revolt.
I believe Marx and Engels thought that this would happen because of something to do with commercial crisis. The factories would be very profitable for the bourgeoisie because they could mass produce goods and pay the workers a small amount of money to do so. However, when this wave of capitalism started to be noticed by others, they would also create factories. This would create competition for the original factory owners. To sell their goods, they would have to cut their prices. By cutting their prices, more people would want to buy from them because they would be cheaper and more efficient. This was a good strategy, except those few extra cents or dollars that were cut off the original price would have to somehow be made up. So naturally, the factory owners cut the wages of the workers even more. It was no skin off their back, because they knew that the workers needed whatever they could get. They thought finding another job would be too difficult for the workers, so they would just have to deal with it. But Marx and Engels knew that after a couple times of this happening the proletariat would be fed up. In the end, the owners would cut the workers’ pay so much that they would not be able to purchase necessities. This would stop the flow of money and capitalism would eventually cave in. Because of these money issues, a revolution was bound to occur, and people would turn to communism. This is why I think Marx and Engels thought that this would eventually happen.
It has been over 150 years since Marx and Engels wrote the manifesto. It seems that they may have been incorrect since many of their theories were not in fact born into history. In my opinion, they didn’t account for the fact that the means of production would in fact get cheaper and cheaper over time due to efficiencies in production. Instead of the proletariat having to overthrow the bourgeoise, the proletariat would be become entrepreneurs due to new technology. However, Marx was correct in the way that there is no class struggle today. Engels and Marx had good reasoning to believe that the proletariat class would overthrow the bourgeoisie.
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