Expository Essay #2 Compare and Contrast Essay: During the nineteenth century, Karl Marx and Andrew Carnegie had definite opinions about the affects of industrialization on society. A greater understanding of their views on history and humanity can be gained by comparing and contrasting two written artifacts: The Communist Manifesto and “Wealth. ” In 1848, Marx, a German philosopher, wrote a supposedly scientific account of his perspective on history entitled The Communist Manifesto.
As a materialist philosopher, he believed that economics was at the heart of history. He examined the tools and technology being used to understand the material substructure of how people were fed and clothed. Marx believed class struggles had existed throughout history and concluded that because of industrialization, society had dwindled down to two classes: the proletariat (laborers) and the bourgeoisie (owners of the means of production). He viewed class struggles and industry as harmful to humanity because they allowed the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat.
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Marx believed the factory system had resulted in a “cash economy”. Owning the means of production, the bourgeoisie kept wages low in order to get cheap supplies, improve the technology of their factories and increase their markets. According to Marx, dependency on low wages had reduced factory workers to “wage slaves,” deprived them of the satisfaction that should be found from working and made it more difficult for the lower class to provide for their basic needs.
He wrote, “The work of the proletarians has lost all individual character…and all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine. ” (Paragraph 22) The differences in their basic interests pitted owners and workers against each other and the inevitable result was tension. Marx predicted that the proletariats would eventually rebel against the bourgeoisie who continued to exploit them. While he supported the basic premise of the existing communist party???he was not proposing the bloody revolution that occurred almost 70 years later in 1917.
Marx’s interpretation of the communist party goals was “The immediate aim of the Communist is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat. ” (Paragraph 28). He further stated, “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in a single sentence: Abolition of private property. ” (Paragraph 33) Marx believed the abolishment of private property would end competition, and in turn, would end class struggles.
He believed that if competition were eliminated, people would find satisfaction in their work and in working for the common good of each other. He envisioned a more democratic society where community members would live modestly and share equal power. According to Marx, “When…capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class-character. (Paragraph 40) A member of America’s upper class, Andrew Carnegie was a hard working Scottish immigrant who became extremely wealthy in the United States. Like Marx, Carnegie was concerned with economics, the history of his own time and agreed that society had always consisted of different classes of people. However, he did not view social classes as a threat to humanity. Carnegie believed that industrialization had just made the differences between the “rich” and “poor” more obvious and viewed the resulting tension between the classes as inevitable in the process of civilization.
Considering his enormous fortune in 1889, some may view Carnegie’s “Wealth” as his attempt to justify his social status. Carnegie described wealthy businessmen as people born with the talent to organize and manage capital in a way that benefits humanity. He stated that “men possessed of this peculiar talent for affairs, under the free play of economic forces, must, of necessity, soon be in receipt of more revenue than can be judiciously expended upon themselves. ” (Paragraph 6) Carnegie believed a wealthy class would always exist but acknowledged “friction between the employer and the employed. (Paragraph 5) He referred to this as “the price which society pays for the law of competition…it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest…(it is) essential for the future progress of the race. ” (Paragraph 6) Carnegie believed that humanity had benefited greatly from competition and private property. In fact, he believed private property was “sacred” to civilization because it allowed competition and competition resulted in more people being able to purchase products of better quality.
He believed “the poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries have become the necessities of life. ” (Paragraph 4) He added, “Not evil, but good, has come to the race from the accumulation of wealth by those who have the ability and energy that produce it. ” (Paragraph 7) According to Carnegie, it was naive to think that “work for work’s sake” brings satisfaction and he did not believe that “laboring for each other” is inherent to man’s nature.
He suggested it would be a waste of energy to try to “bend the universal tree of humanity. ” Carnegie believed this “tree” had produced “the best and most valuable of all that humanity has yet accomplished” through “Individualism, Private Property, the Law of Accumulation of Wealth, and the Law of Competition. ” (Paragraph 7) Carnegie’s ideas about history and humanity are influenced by Herbert Spencer; Carnegie, like Spenser, tries to adapt and apply Darwin’s claim for natural selection to understand human history and human society.
Marx’s views on property, wealth and competition were quite different from the views of Carnegie, Both Marx and Carnegie agreed that contemporary society in the industrial era has some serious social problems. Marx proposed changing history or at least he seems to have thought the crisis of the industrial era would necessarily bring a new era. Carnegie believed the change to the present order should “be accepted and made the best of” because it was “beyond our power to alter. ” (Paragraph 2)