Friedrich Engels Theoretical Analysis

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In the excerpt from Anti-Dühring entitled “Theoretical” by Friedrich Engels, Engels outlines the fundamental contradiction in capitalism and the social and economic conflicts that have occurred in the past and even today due to this contradiction. He uses a historical materialist approach to analyze capitalism and the workings of the capitalist mode of production. It is in using a historical approach that the concept of capitalism becomes complex as well as very contradictory. This paper will introduce the concept of historical materialism and explain what Engels explains is the fundamental contradiction in capitalism and the two contradictions that arise from the fundamental contradiction. Furthermore this paper will provide an explanation …show more content…
What this means is that the capitalist mode of production may have empowered the individual because the capitalists had isolated them to produce their commodities, however the contradiction is that it resulted in chaos among the producers thus society failed to obtain any anarchy of production (299). As Engels argues, the driving force of the social anarchy of production transformed many men into proletarians and this driving force gave rise to the individual capitalist’s goal of perfection of large-scale industry (299). However it is this pursue of perfection that would render the individual labourer unnecessary in the capitalist mode of production. Thus here lies the link to the fundamental contradiction in capitalism. Furthermore, another contradiction that arises from the fundamental contradiction is that the chaos created in social structures is due to the rebellion of the mode of production on the mode of exchange. Capital becomes the driving force of production, which provides the individual with material fulfillment however the means of capital production also becomes an obstacle for an individual. This is because the continuous circulation of commodities in the cycle of the production of capital isolates the individual producer(s) (302). It is here that the issue of exploitation and alienation occurs as the products that the producer produces seems to gain value over the individual producer, hence why Engels states “the productive forces rebel against the mode of production, which they have outgrown” (302). This cycle continues in capitalism and is why it is contradictory and why Engels believes capitalism is not only contradictory but also exploitive thus making it a suppressive social

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