Historical Development Of Capitalism In Theoretical, By Frederick Engels

846 Words 4 Pages
There have many shifts in the world today, including shifts in economic systems. In “Theoretical”, an excerpt from Anti-Dühring, the author Frederick Engels describes the capitalist economic system. Within his description of capitalism, he defines the term historical materialism and its relations to defining social structure. In addition, Engels explains the fundamental contradiction in capitalism and the contradictions that arise from it. Furthermore, Engels explains what he envisions to be the ultimate outcome of the historical development of capitalism.
According to Engels, the term historical materialism is stated to have started “from the principle that production, and with production the exchange of its products, is the basis of every
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He indicates this by mentioning that capitalism cannot operate because it is full of contradictions. Engels includes that the fundamental contradiction within capitalism is that social production and individual accumulation cannot be sustained. This is due to the fact that the mode of production has shifted from individual production to social production and that the mode of exchange has remained as individual accumulation. In other words, this means that there are multiple people producing a product that will be accumulated by a single person. This is a change from the Middle Ages, where individual producers were enabled to satisfy their many needs through raw materials, that were either exchanged for goods with others or belonged to him, to make products (Engels …show more content…
The first contradiction is “between the organisation of production in the individual factory and the anarchy of production in society as a whole (Engels 100). The meaning of this is that on one hand, production is organized in the individual factory and on the other hand, there is no organization in society. Production in the individual factory is organized and efficient due to the machines used to produce the products. This is contradicted by society through how there is no organization or control. There is a growing inequality between the social classes and therefore, resulting in one class dominating the others. The second contradiction, as Engels states is “the mode of production [rebelling] against the mode of exchange; the productive forces rebel against the mode of production, which they have outgrown” (102). In other words, due to the advancements of capitalism, the machinery that was introduced to make production more efficient has caused a threat towards the jobs of wage labourers. Since the machinery is an easy and efficient way for goods to be produced, it causes an overproduction of goods. If these goods are not bought, the costs for these goods are increased and results in the wage for the workers being decreased and therefore, making them unable to purchase the goods that they have produced. In addition, the growing rate of efficiency for machinery also causes workers

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