Self, Culture and Society - Engels Essay

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In this paper an excerpt titled “Theoretical” from Engels’ Anti-Dhüring will be examined in reference to Engels’ ideologies regarding materialism, the social work order, and the fundamental problems confronted in the clash between the social production and capitalist appropriation.
In the chapter titled Theoretical, Engels lays out the basic conflict between what we know as socialism and capitalism, doing so by first examining what he calls the “Materialist conception of history” (Engels 1939, p. 292). In his materialistic history he claims that the exchange and bartering of products, and their production is the “basis of every social order” (Engels 1939, p. 292). He states that in every society that has ever appeared in history, the
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294) Thus small workshops slowly became obsolete, being replaced by gargantuan factories where hundreds of peoples would come to produce a product together. The fundamental issue that arises however is this: in Feudalism, and in earlier times it was clear who the owner of the product of labor was, “the individual producer had produced it, as a rule from raw material which belonged to him, and often was also produced by himself…”(Engels 1939, p. 295) As a result of this, there was never any need to appropriate the product to him, as it belonged to him as an absolute. (Engel 1939, p. 295) The problem here is that this idea continued on even after social production had taken the place of individual producers, and the “Social products were treated as if they were still…the products of individuals.” (Engels 1939, p. 295) “Now the owner of the instruments of labor continued to appropriate the product, although it was not longer his product, but…the product of other’s labor. Thus therefore, the products now socially produced were not appropriated by those who had really set the means of production in motion and…produced the products, but by the capitalists.” (Engels 1939, p. 295)
Therefore the original contradiction in capitalism can be summed up as such: “The mode of production is subjected to
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