Alienation And The Future Of Capitalism

1032 Words5 Pages
Alienation and the Future of Capitalism No matter what Marx and Engels’ vision for a future society is, there is a sense in which it must revolve around an understanding of the crucial nature of production in determining class relations and social structures. Indeed, Engels makes this facet of society very clear when he writes, “…the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought, not in men’s brains, not in men’s better insight into eternal truth and justice, but in changes in the modes of production and exchange” (Marx & Engels 701). From this definition, it is clear that any future society must be fully aware of its configuration vis-à-vis the primary mode of production, such that it can avoid some of the pitfalls of older societies that were (and are) not aware of them. Engels discusses the “vicious circle” (708) of industrial capitalism in some detail, whereby the boom and bust cycle, which has become so familiar in the modern era, is its defining characteristic. He describes the dynamic of this cycle as the mode of production’s rebellion against the mode of exchange (709). What marks Engels writing here, and what makes this passage supremely relevant to any conception of a future society, is the sense of exasperation and urgency with which he treats the familiar cycles of modern industrial capitalism, which, needless to say, must be re-conceptualized. The basis for Engels’ re-conception is that he believes that there is an inherent social dimension hidden deep beneath the layers of capitalist greed within the mode of production. Yet in order to make this dimension visible, such that the social masses can seize upon its revelation, the situation must first be brought to a head. Engels wri... ... middle of paper ... ...and to no one else’s” (745). Yet Engels argues that monogamy will not disappear along with the economic conditions that created it, as one might expect, but that monogamy will be allowed to prosper instead, since men will feel less anxious about inheritance (745). And this, in turn, and again quite unexpectedly, will lead to the dissolution of the nuclear family, giving way to a family community that cares collectively for its children (Marx & Engels 745). With these points, Engels makes absolutely clear that once the people’s relation to the mode of production changes, then gender, kinship structures and humanity itself begin to alter as well. Indeed, what is important is not whether Engels’ account of a progressive society is necessarily accurate, but that, at the conceptual level, it contains a greater connectedness among people and an elevated sense of humanity.
Open Document