Critiques of Capitalism

“The Incoherence and Disorder of Industry”:

Author: Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon (1760-1825) a French political and economic theorist that became a strong advocator of changing the free trade “laissez-faire” system of political economy, to a more individualized approach; focusing on the poor. His writings impacted generations of French theorist.

Context: Claude is writing during the French Revolution, as apart of the rebellious Third Estate. Tired of seeing what he calls an imperfect industry thrive, seeing several fortunate individuals triumph over the many, he advocated for a change in the political system that addressed more the needs of his fellow commoner; the third estate.

Language: His persuasive attitude towards changing the already “stable” system is very present in this reading. He calls laissez-faire, the inevitable solution that economist of that day schemed their personal interests with, instead of the needs of the individual.

Audience:  This piece is directed towards the fellow poor commoner that Claude eventually became after spending his self earned money on his various publications.

Intent: To alter the economic system in place that tends to benefit the rich, rather than the poor. To focus the needs on this system to the individual, and refocus the system on ideals of science.

Message: The free trade system needs to be abolished so that new ideals can be the catalysts for change towards a new system that benefits/addresses the needs of the poor.

“The Legacy of Robert Owen”:

Author: Robert Owen (1771-1858) was an organizer of cooperatives in England. As an advocator for universal education and workers rights he argues that nations are built upon a deceptive system.

Context: Owen is writing during a time of rebellion, in which these unions and cooperatives greatly impacted various minds during the revolution.

Language: Owen uses a tone of disgust with the population of Great Britain, which he believes is full of injustices that opposes real well being and true interests of every individual.

Audience: His message is mainly for people against the morals of an unjust system. He advocates for Consolidated Unions, and that his stance will not go unheard.

Intent: To not allow the ignorant to deprive you, the individual, of your well-being, happiness, and life. Promoting the value of men of industry, and producers of wealth and knowledge.

Message: The system that nations are built upon are in essence deceptive and/or ignorant. These systems can do no good to man, but only continuously produce evil.

“Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 – Estranged Labor”:

Author: Karl Marx, a revolutionary specialist, the founder of Marxism. His work laid the foundation for understanding capital and labour relations.

Context: Marx elaborates on the vicious cycle that affects workers, and how they become commodities after a grueling production process.

Language: Marx presents facts, rather than opinion, and uses economic rational to establish grounds for a society that leans toward bettering conditions for the proletariat.

Audience: The average commoner and proletariat worker in the workforce.

Intent: To elaborate on the power that capitalist nature has on the average proletariat worker.

Message: The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and size.