Marx and Engels on Capitalism: Opponents or Proponents?

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Marx and Engels on Capitalism: Opponents or Proponents? Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels have historically been considered to be two of the more outgoing opponents of capitalism; however, a closer reading of some of their works, particularly The Communist Manifesto, reveals a different circumstance. David Miller, a modern scholar who addresses Marx’s position on capitalism, stakes the claim that “[The Communist Manisfesto], somewhat oddly, it may seem, for a revolutionary tract, celebrates capitalism as much as it condemns it” (Miller, “Marx, Communism, and Markets,” 189). In his work entitled “Marx and Schumpeter on Capitalism's Creative Destruction: A Comparative Restatement,” John Elliott establishes that Marx’s stance on capitalism has been traditionally misinterpreted, and he sees more value in capitalism than most realize. Within the Manifesto, Marx and Engels identify a good number of capitalism’s positive contributions, specifically citing the large strides capitalism catalyzed in society’s economic and intellectual development. In this sense they were very complimentary of capitalism; however, they ultimately valued capitalism as a means to the eventual creation of a communist society, regardless of the positive contributions brought forth by capitalism. Marx and Engels point to the progress ushered in by capitalist economies as the most significant development in human history. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels claim that the bourgeoisie’s
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