I found it captivating to read The Communist Manifesto Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels shortly after discussing Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Smith advocated for industrialization and capitalism in his work. He believed that as a states’ wealth and productivity grew, class disparities within that state would decrease. Marx and Engels disagreed with this idea. Wealthier, stronger entities dominated over less developed ones for centuries during the time these authors wrote their works.… Read the rest here
The Industrial Revolution was an important step for many countries during the late 18th century to 19th century, as it changed the way products were manufactured to what is now seen today. In Adam Smith’s first chapter of, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the division of labor is seen as a necessity for maximizing the efficiency of creating manufactured goods. The way Smith describes the importance of the division of labor relates back to Hoffmann in, “European Modernity and Soviet Socialism”, as both emphasize the categorization of the branches of labor and making humans more efficient during their livelihood. … Read the rest here
Of the many thought provoking and avant-garde ideas contained in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ Manifesto of the Communist Party, the core concept is explicitly stated in the opening line of the document where they wrote, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.” (126) This concept of class antagonisms is alluded to throughout several portions of the text. They believed that the proletariat would ultimately rise up and unify, dissolving all class distinctions to create a society conducted by a tier-less working class.… Read the rest here
An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations
Author: Adam Smith. A pioneering economist who developed revolutionary concepts associated with free market economic theory. He argued that rational people, acting in their own self-interest, could create en efficient economic system. He studied in England but was of Scottish decent. He was influenced by the Scottish Enlightenment.
Context: The work was published in 1776. It was published during the beginning of the industrial revolution in response to the outdated economic ideas of the time.… Read the rest here
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations:
Author: Adam Smith (1723-1790)
- British philosopher and key member of the Scottish Enlightenment period; the “father of modern economics”; lots of higher education at the University of Glasgow and Oxford (although he preferred to study on his own when at Oxford).
- Born into a relatively well-off family; father worked for the government; Smith was able to attend a relatively prestigious school.
- Close relationship with David Hume, a fellow Scottish intellectual
- The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) made Adam Smith well known in his area
- Gets him a tutoring job with a young Duke
- Tutoring job enabled Smith to travel and meet various intellectual greats in the areas he traveled to
- One of which was Turgot!
The Wealth of Nations, 1776
Author: Adam Smith was a Scottish moral philosopher, and is known as “the father of modern economics.” He enjoyed a thorough education at the University of Glasgow, and after graduating traveled around Europe as a tutor.
Context: Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations during the Industrial Revolution. It was published shortly after Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. At the time, Great Britain’s economy was booming, and it’s imperialist influence was spreading through Africa, the Americas, and Asia.… Read the rest here
In Comte de Saint-Simon’s The Incoherence and Disorder of Industry, Saint-Simon disapproves and criticizes laissez-faire capitalism for its brutal competitive nature. He views industrialists as self-centered and vain. He claims, “the industrialist is very little concerned about society’s interests.” Saint-Simon has a Hobbesian view on the Industrial Revolution. He suggests that when two men pursue the same career, they inevitably become enemies; their lives become nasty, short, and brutish as they seek glory over each other’s career.… Read the rest here
In the writings of the Compte de Sainte Simon, Robert Owens, and Karl Marx, an alternate perspective- other than laissez faire capitalism- regarding industry is approached. Adam Smith- a strong proponent of the productivity that the division of labor supplied the economy- stated that industrial perspectives were the ideal way to support the economy. However, these three writers offer contrasting perspectives that certainly align more with socialism. In “Estranged Labour,” written in 1844, Marx specifically discusses how these economic changes towards industry will actually cause a cultural collapse.… Read the rest here
Smith states that the division of labor significantly improves the productive power in manufacture through three ways: the increased dexterity of workman by repetition, the reduced time brought by the quick transition between workers, and the efficiency brought by the machines. These workers, who perform repetitive and tedious work in order to make accommodations, are only a small part of labor in the industry world. A large quantity and variety of labor is needed in every chain of the manufacturing industry, from collecting the raw material to transporting goods from one place to another.… Read the rest here
Adam Smith primarily focuses the relationship individuals have with one another in a capitalist society, which he describes within An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Adam Smith begins his inquiry with a look into the division of labor among a population. Smith determines that the individuals are most productive when they do what they are best at, through their own discovery of his/her own talents and abilities. With his pin-maker scenario, Smith’s provides an easy to understand example for his ideal working conditions. … Read the rest here