Can capitalism cooperate with socialism

Zeitbilder 5/6, textbook

Socialism - utopia of a new social order The complete lack of property and the social misery of the industrial proletariat were not seen by the ruling bourgeoisie as in need of improvement. The ideal of the free, self-determining individual in a liberal-capitalist economic order applied to the bourgeoisie, but not to the working class. In order to achieve humane living and production conditions, the “fourth estate” had to resort to self-help. However, individual men from business, politics and science rejected the liberal economic system with their selfish greed for profit. They opposed it to a social order in which each individual was responsible to the whole. This "socialism", however, required a complete change in the existing social system. The solution models of the “early socialists” The early socialists offered different solution models aiming in two main directions. Establishment of a new society through: a cooperative union of smaller groups without state influence (eg Robert Owen), a fundamental change in the state system (eg –– Louis Blanc). As early as 1800, the entrepreneur Robert Owen (1771–1858) did not employ any children under 10 years of age in his factory in Scotland, limited working hours to 10 3/4 hours and also ensured that his workers were housed in a decent manner. Owen, the founder of British socialism, wanted a society in which people work in harmony and share the profits they make. He organized such production cooperatives himself, but they were unsuccessful. In 1834 Owen founded one of the first trade unions. Its aim was a non-violent transition from capitalism to socialism. Within a few months, this organization is said to have had half a million members. But it also failed - mainly because of the lack of communication and coordination within the workers and because of the government, which used all its means of power against this movement. The French philosopher Pierre Proudhon (1809–1865) was more radical. He declared property to be theft if it came from capital or land and was not acquired by labor. For him, money (and interest) was the great evil. So he wanted, like Owen, an exchange economy instead of a money economy. His compatriot Louis Blanc (1811–1882) in turn demanded the right to work and the state to create jobs. In his opinion, all factories should be converted into state-owned enterprises and run by the workers themselves. The attempt to implement his ideas failed in the revolution of 1848 (see p. 213 f.). Marx - Socialism as Science All of these theories only covered partial aspects of the strived for socialism. It was only Karl Marx (1818–1883) and his friend Friedrich Engels (1820–1895) who came up with a comprehensive theory. For them, the “material basis” is decisive for the development of the state and society. H. the economic situation. They are the "substructure" of the respective society on which a corresponding political, legal, cultural and religious consciousness of the people develops in a time epoch (= "superstructure"): Q It is not the consciousness of the people that determines their being, but, conversely, their social being, which determines their consciousness. (Marx, On the Critique of Political Economy) Explain this statement in your own words and analyze it critically in the class. What economic conditions and what “superstructure” do we have in Austria today? According to Marx and Engels, the course of history is shaped by changes in the “relations of production”, i. H. the “ownership of the means of production”: Q The history of all previous society is the history of class struggles (…). Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, is, however, characterized by the fact that it has simplified class antagonisms. The whole of society is more and more split into two great hostile camps (...): the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. (Marx / Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848) Is this statement about the division of society still valid today? Justify your opinion. For Marx, history was an unalterable process that proceeded according to certain natural laws. He was convinced that socialism would replace capitalism through a revolution. The prerequisite for the revolution, however, would be an internationally organized workforce ready to fight. Only then could the ultimate goal of historical development, namely a classless society without private owners of means of production (= communism), be achieved. Analysis of Capitalism According to Marx, civil society is extremely unequal. On the one hand there are the owners of the means of production, the “capitalists”. Opposite them is the mass of wage-earners without possessions, the “proletarians” who can only sell their labor as a commodity. Although the proletarians have a lot of 6. Socialism and other attempted solutions 206 For testing purposes only - property of the publisher öbv

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