Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book

By John Spargo; George Louis Arner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
CAPITALIST SOCIETY

I

Point of view in Socialist criticism: The Socialist criticism of society is essentially constructive and impersonal. This is not always apparent to the casual reader of, or listener to a popular presentation of Socialism, but if the speaker or writer is really representative of Socialism at its best his criticisms of institutions are directed toward the determining economic conditions and their consequences, and his criticism of men has for its purpose the desire to give concrete examples of types and classes as they are affected by economic conditions. Karl Marx makes this perfectly clear in the preface to the first volume of Capital.1

This criticism, moreover, has always the transformation of society through changes in the basic economic conditions as its motive. This assumption of the fundamental economic basis of society and social institutions is essential to Socialism. As we shall see later in our study, psychological and other factors in social evolution are not excluded. They are simply regarded as subordinate to the economic factors.

Socialism and decadent institutions: Socialists do not devote much attention to the criticism of unimportant or decadent institutions. Attempts to direct Socialist attacks to the surviving remnants of feudal society have largely

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1
"I paint the capitalist and landlord in no sense couleur de rose. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class- relations and class-interests. My standpoint, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them."-- Karl Marx, Capital, vol. I, p. 15, American edition.

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Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • PART I SOCIALISM AS CRITICISM 1
  • Chapter I: INTRODUCTION 3
  • Chapter II Capitalist Society 7
  • LITERATURE 18
  • Chapter III Planless Production 19
  • LITERATURE 29
  • Chapter IV Poverty 30
  • LITERATURE 43
  • Chapter V Leisure and Luxury 44
  • LITERATURE 52
  • Chapter VI Individual and Social Responsibility 53
  • LITERATURE 58
  • PART II SOCIALIST THEORY 59
  • Chapter VII: INTRODUCTORY 61
  • Chapter VIII Social Evolution 65
  • LITERATURE 75
  • Chapter IX the Economic Interpretation of History 76
  • LITERATURE 90
  • Chapter X Industrial Evolution 91
  • LITERATURE 99
  • Chapter XI the Class Struggle Theory 100
  • LITERATURE 115
  • Chapter XII Value and Price 116
  • LITERATURE 140
  • Chapter XIII Surplus-Value 141
  • LITERATURE 156
  • Chapter XIV the Law of Concentration 157
  • LITERATURE 167
  • Chapter XV Monopolies and Trusts 168
  • LITERATURE 184
  • PART III THE SOCIALIST IDEAL 185
  • Chapter XVI the Utopian Socialist Ideal 187
  • LITERATURE 200
  • Chapter XVII the Ideals of Modern Socialism 201
  • LITERATURE 211
  • Chapter XVIII Socialist State--Political 212
  • LITERATURE 223
  • Chapter XIX: THE SOCIALIST STATE--ECONOMIC 224
  • Chapter XX Socialism and the Family 240
  • LITERATURE 251
  • PART IV THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT 253
  • Chapter XXI the Rise and Growth of Modern Socialism 255
  • LITERATURE 265
  • Chapter XXII the National Socialist Movemenis 266
  • LITERATURE 314
  • PART V POLICY AND PROGRAM 315
  • Chapter XXIII Socialism and Social Reform 317
  • LITERATURE 336
  • Chapter XXIV the Reform Program of Socialism 337
  • LITERATURE 353
  • Chapter XXV Some Objections to Socialism Considered 354
  • LITERATURE 369
  • Index 371
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