Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book

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

mind of the word "materialistic" with the doctrines of philosophical materialism. The essence of the theory is that the rate and direction of social evolution are mainly, but not exclusively, conditioned by the development of the methods of production and exchange. It does not exclude other factors, but subordinates them to the economic factor.

Origin of the theory: While it is true that earlier writers laid the foundations of the theory of the economic motivation of society, or anticipated it, Karl Marx was the first to formulate it and cause it to be recognized as a theory of great philosophical importance. This is probably his greatest single contribution to the thought of the world.

The first indications of the theory in any of the writings of Marx are to be found in his little known work, Die Heilige Familie, which was published in 1845. But it was not until the publication of his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, in 1859, that he attempted to elaborate the theory. In the preface to that work Marx wrote:

I was led by my studies to the conclusion that legal relations as well as forms of state could neither be understood by themselves, nor explained by the so-called general progress of the human mind, but that they are rooted in the material conditions of life, which are summed up by Hegel after the fashion of the English and French of the eighteenth century under the name "civic society"; the anatomy of that civic society is to be found in political economy. The study of the latter which I had taken up in Paris, I continued at Brussels whither I immigrated on account of an order issued by Guizot. The general conclusion at which I arrived and which, once reached, continued to serve as the leading thread in my studies, may be briefly summed up as follows: In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society--the real foundation, on which rise legal and political superstructures and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness.1

Marx proceeded to illustrate the value of the theory as a method of historical interpretation by sketching in bold and

____________________
1
A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, by Karl Marx, translated from the second German edition by N. I. Stone, p. 11.

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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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