Socialism over Capitalism

Topics: Capitalism, Socialism, Marxism Pages: 5 (1975 words) Published: October 7, 2013
Socialism Over Capitalism

The 19th century was a time when the majority of the population was working in decrepit factories earning almost nothing due to no minimum wage laws and lived in poor health due to lack of worker’s protection. Due to this, socialist thinkers and proponents like Marx and Bakunin were relevant and their ideals thrived. But in today’s world, low-income earners in the Third World are able to afford basic luxuries such as televisions and cell phones. Therefore, the socialist ideals of Marx and Bakunin are tossed aside and are seen as a form of tyranny, stripping people of their democratic rights as well as their individualism. It has become common knowledge that capitalism has brought greater freedom to people and socialism will forever be a horrible idea. However, this is not always the case. Capitalism sets people against each other in a race to be successful and wealthy, whereas Socialism puts that competition at rest and calls for us to work together for cooperative harmony. There are two factors that favor socialism over capitalism when you look at it through this “greater good” perspective. These are: The profit motive, and economic uncertainty.

To fully grasp the debate of socialism over capitalism, one must first fully comprehend what each one is. In short, capitalism is an economic system where private parties dominate the means of labor. These ‘means’ of production refer to assets pertaining to money and various sorts of wealth. Through capitalism, workers whose end goal is to make a profit in a free enterprise fuel the economy. In contrast, socialism is an economic system where forms of capital are run by the state. Though each person works for assets, monetary factors are rendered obsolete. “Labor as a state in which every person is put, and capital as the acknowledged universality and power of the community (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844).” Unlike capitalism where your amount of work/profit determines your class, socialism is based on the assertion that classes don’t exist. Obviously, Marx is against inequality of wealth and resources. However, he believes inequality in the distribution of wealth and resources is a reflection of inequality in the way in which we go about producing wealth and resources. He goes on to say, “At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure (Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy).” He believed that if capitalism were to endure, there would be several main outcomes. One, there would eventually form an exclusive capitalist class who retained immense wealth. The wealth this class possesses would continue to grow perpetually at the expense of the laborers, commonly referred to as the proletariat. When this happens, the alienation of this inferior group would commence. The modes of production would be in the hands of the proletariat, but they would become poorer. On one side of the fence, you have a substandard quality of life due to low incomes, which lead to failing businesses. On the greener side, you have corporate big dogs that reap billions of dollars worth of revenue. Both Marx and Bakunin agreed that capitalism would eventually lead to it’s own demise. Economic decline will eventually ensue, profits will fall, and the proletariat would continue to be abused. Bakunin said that, “To revolt is a natural tendency of life. Even a worm turns against the foot that crushes it. In general, the vitality and relative dignity of an animal can be measured by the intensity of its instinct to revolt (Scientific Anarchism).” This so called ‘instinct to revolt’ will kick in and the...
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