Opposition to Capitalism

The Rise of Socialism

Socialists believed capitalism wasn’t the best method for distributing wealth. They felt they should take advantage of modern technology and use it to organize society more effectively. They focused on a number of failings in the communist system. They discussed how capitalism wasn’t an equal system and only benefited a small group in society who created wealth through exploitation. With capitalism, wealth wasn’t measured by how much they contributed to society, but on how much capital (land, equipment and money) they had to invest. If you were already wealthy, you could gain more wealth but for those that were poor, gaining wealth was near impossible. Another thing is that capitalism didn’t operate in the interest of societies needs. It focused on what the market wanted or could sell for a profit. With socialism, wealth would be gained and distributed by peoples contribution to society.


Origins of Socialism

During the Industrial Revolution a number of prominent men including Henry Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen started thinking about a different option to capitalism. These men believed the workers should be gaining some of the profit.

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Trade Union Movement

Strong trade unions originated from the mid–19th century. Trade unions are organisations of people who work together to negotiate pay and working conditions.

One of the most important issues that unions discussed was for the eight-hour working days. Factory workers and other labourers worked extremely long days during the Industrial Revolution. Robert Owen, who brought socialist ideals to his factory in Scotland, helped to fight for an eight-hour working day. In 1817, he created the slogan, ‘eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, and eight hours rest.’

Much of the union activity in the 19th century related to working hours. One of the ways workers could exercise power was to go on strike, which meant that they would all agree not to work unless their employer agreed to improve their conditions.

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Marx and Communism

Key ideas -

Karl Marx and his co-worker Friedrich Engels defined in their own ways the socialist movement.

They wrote a book together named the Communist Manifesto this book concentrated their influential ideas about communism.

Communism was based on the principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his need’. This means that everyone can work to the best of their ability and getting what they need back from the community.

In which everyone was provided for and given equal opportunities. Meaning that everyone will have equal opportunities to get things back from their community.

Key People-

The key people in the communism section will include karl Marx + his co worker fried rich Engels.

They believed that wage earners (broadly speaking, the working class) would try to seek their freedom by revolting against the capitalist owners of society. Eventually, there would be a classless society with no state (government) required to oversee it.

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