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Self, Culture and Society - Engels

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Submitted By HungarianSM93
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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 distribution and production of goods and the division of society into estates and classes is “determined by what [and how it] is produced… and the exchange of [said] product.” (Engels 1939, p.292) Thus, according to Engels, the basis of our society revolves around production, and consumption, which can clearly be seen even today.
Historical Materialism can then be defined as the forces of production, the exchanges of products, and the division of labor according to one’s ability to produce. However in society, often people live from the work of others often called the Bourgeoisie by Engels (p. 292), and it is because of the capitalist mode of production that such a ruling class could be created, and benefit from the work of others. It is here then that we find the fundamental contradiction in capitalism. To find this contradiction, we must look back onto a time when feudalism was the center of the economy, where small-scale production was common, and where the “instruments of labor -land…[a] workshop, tools- were the instruments of [the] labor of individuals, intended only for individual use…[but because they were] tiny, [and]...

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