Marx’s ideas of communism grew from a time of turmoil and change such as had not been experienced previously in the world. The industrial revolution saw mass produced low quality work and a disconnection from both life and the natural beauty in the world. There were numerous responses to the societal upheaval, from the realist painters who unapologetically painted the harsh realties of the time, to Ruskin and Morris who worried people were becoming machine like themselves and pushed for a return to the traditional trades and held a nostalgic desire for the past, to Karl Marx who looked for a better society as a whole. The main ideas of communism, that everyone should share equally in labor and the fruits of the labor, as well as share in the decisions, were of a different world than that of the industrialized world of the 18th century.
Communism places value on the amount of human labor it takes to create a product, this helps to protect workers from the exploitation that ran rampant during the industrial revolution. While I do not think this is as relevant today in many parts of the world as it was in the age of industrialization, it is still something that we should strive to always be improving on. Eventually, Marx saw those who do all the work revolting because while they do the hard labor, someone else is making a profit off them, and communism was the answer for a new societal structure.
The theory of a classless society where there is not such a split between people is a greatly appealing idea in today’s world where we struggle with this massive division of wealth.
Communism creates a system of equality, although it is important to note that ideas of extreme equality such as explored in Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison...
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... greatly stunted. If people were not committed to the community and truly willing to let go of the capitalist ideals that are so ingrained in the world today a communist society would soon collapse.
Communism holds many ideals that today we can strive for as a society, working to continually better our communities. Attempting to implement a communist society on a large scale in today’s world, primed from generations of capitalism and competition, would be nearly impossible. There is however, something to be learned from communism and from the numerous other responses that sprung from the industrial revolution and today we still struggle with many similar problems. Perhaps Marx’s idea of the middle working class overthrowing the upper classes will happen, but there are still many aspects of communism that would make it an unideal place to live in many people’s minds.
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