Historical Materialism Analysis

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In the excerpt Anti-Duhring called Theoretical, Friedrich Engels takes a historical materialist approach to show that the capitalist mode of production is fundamentally contradictory. From this theory, he follows a trace of social and economic conflicts that occur from this contradiction. The following essay will define historical materialism as described by Engels, as well as explaining the fundamental contradiction and the two contradictions that arise from it, and finally concluding with a brief explanation of Engels ' vision of the ultimate outcome of the historical development of capitalism.

Engels discussed historical materialism in Theoretical and was one of the reoccurring themes in the reading. Historical materialism is the principle
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These two contradictions can be seen through these two quotes by Engels; one being a), the contradiction “between the organization of production in the individual factory and the anarchy of production in society as a whole.” (Engels, p. 299). The other being b), “The mode of production rebels against the mode of exchange; the productive forces rebel against the mode of production, which they have outgrown. ” (Engels, p. 302). To start off, quote a) shows a contradiction between the individual factory which stems from Feudalism, and the anarchy of social production which stems from Capitalism. The individual factory refers to peasants and craftsmen working individually to produce their own livelihood. The anarchy of social production refers to the same circulating problems found in social production. The 'anarchy ' in the anarchy of social production refers to the opposite of itself. Therefore the increasing organization of production on a social basis in each individual production establishment creates a contradiction. This is a contradiction because by adding the social aspect to an individual merchant forces surplus production on the producer and a market that has too many competitors for individuals to make decent earning. Finally, the second quotes contradiction deals with the mode of production, or the productive force rebelling against the mode of …show more content…
Engels believes that with the historical development of capitalism comes abolition of the social classes and the ruling classes and becomes a anarchism. Therefore, what happens next would be that the development of production would have reached a level in which the allocation of means of production and of the products, hasn’t just become overly sufficient, but economically, politically and intellectually become a hindrance to development (Engels, p. 309). This presupposes that with historical development of capitalism comes a surplus in products which results in economic crisis ' as well as the abolition of the social and ruling classes. This can be seen as a negative and a positive because on one hand it eliminates the division of labor, and the division of classes between the proletarians and the bourgeoisie, however, it will leave that society in an economic meltdown that will be tough to recover

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