Karl Marx And Samuel Smiles: A Comparative Analysis

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Views on Society’s Problems The nineteenth century was a series of pivotal years in world history. The world was changing due to the rapid industrialization taking place in the 1800s. To keep up with massive demands for goods, masses of laborers would work in overcrowded factories. Unfortunately as a result, the wealthy was getting wealthier and the poor, in relation, was getting poorer. Karl Marx and Samuel Smiles voiced their opinions about the changing and unfair society in their respective writings, The Communist Manifesto and Thrift. There they emphasized their opinions on social class, problems in society, and various ways to improve. While equality was what both wanted to achieve, they differed in the ways they viewed the social classes and how society could reform…show more content…
Wealthy elites or the bourgeoisie continued to earn high profits while the poor proletarians continued to take part in labor intensive work in factories. Marx and Smiles both saw this as a major problem in their society. In Marx’s Communist Manifesto, he wrote, “ not only are they [the proletarians] slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois state; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself…” What Marx means is that the bourgeoisie is looking down at the proletariats and using them as merely a way to earn profit. In contrast to Marx, Smiles said, “...they [the proletarians] resemble the savage tribes, who know no better, and do no worse.” Smiles is comparing them to savage tribes to emphasize their inept social understanding. He blamed the poor for their destitute lives because they lacked the knowledge to improve themselves to become wealthy. While Marx sided with the poverty stricken population, Smiles argued that the wealthy were in the right. However, both would agree that there were problems in society that needed
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