Essay on The Transition from Capitalism to Socialism

1388 Words 6 Pages
In Man's Worldly Goods, Leo Huberman summed up some of what he believed to be many of the key points that have led to a transition from capitalism to socialism in Europe. Huberman's main reasons for revolution are the disadvantageous position of the lower class, class divisions and struggles between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, and the inevitable failures of capitalism. One key development toward a socialist revolution, according to Huberman, was the Industrial Revolution. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, those who were once peasants were now working in factories under wretched conditions and for very little pay. Their jobs were often extremely dangerous and the hours were long, and to make matters worse, they were often …show more content…
And since profits were assumed to have been linked to variable capital, the capitalist had to worry about this process cutting down profits, which should be fixable by changing wages (281-283). But should wages be increased or decreased? Due to the apparent contradiction of the affects of wage changes on profits, it seemed clear to Marx that crises are unavoidable under capitalism. In the end, these forces should lead to a socialist reform which rectifies capitalism's weaknesses. Russia's socialist revolution, for example, banned profiting off another's labor, made production public and run by the government, and eliminated class divisions (288-289). There are some alternative views on the process of socialist reform. One such view is from Thorstein Veblen. Contrary to the arguments posed by Huberman, Veblen believed that the lower class did not want to overthrow the upper class, but rather they wanted to become the upper class (Heilbroner 177). This, he believes, is the reason why the upper and lower classes are not constantly at blows with one another. Furthermore, Veblen's belief regarding the cause of socialist reform was not so much due to the failure or inequalities caused specifically by the capitalist system, but instead due to our heavy reliance on machinery and the greed of businessmen. Veblen believed the economy is mechanical in nature, as its single purpose is to produce goods

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