Basis of Early Socialist Critique of Capitalism

649 Words3 Pages
Marx and Engels used the term "scientific socialism" to describe the type of socialism they saw themselves developing. According to Engels, socialism was not "an accidental discovery of this or that ingenious brain, but the necessary outcome of the struggle between two historically developed classes – the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Its task was no longer to manufacture a system of society as perfect as possible, but to examine the historical-economic succession of events from which these classes and their antagonism had of necessity sprung, and to discover in the economic conditions thus created the means of ending the conflict." Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to all socialist ideas that were simply a vision and distant goal for society as utopian. Utopian socialists were likened to scientists who drew up elaborate designs and concepts for creating what socialists considered a more equal society. They were contrasted by scientific socialists, likened to engineers, who were defined as an integrated conception of the goal, the means to producing it, and the way that those means will inevitably be produced through examining social and economic phenomena. A key difference between "utopian socialists" and other socialists (including most anarchists) is that utopian socialists generally don't feel class struggle or political revolutions are necessary to implement their ideas; that people of all classes might voluntarily adopt their plan for society if it were presented convincingly The term "Utopian socialism" was introduced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto in 1848, although Marx shortly before the publication of this pamphlet already attacked the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in Das Elend der Philosophie (originally written in French, 1847) and used by later socialist thinkers to describe early socialist or quasi-socialist
Open Document