Elements of Socialism: A Text-Book

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

CHAPTER XXIII
SOCIALISM AND SOCIAL REFORM

Marx and Engels on social reform: Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto emphasized the importance of social and political reform and sketched a practical program for the betterment of the conditions of the wage-workers. That it was a crude and hastily sketched program, which has long since become antiquated to a large extent, is not here and now a matter of importance. What is significant is the fact that from the beginning Marx and Engels regarded agitation for reforms as a necessary part of proletarian activity. Eighteen years later, in the practical program which Marx drafted for the International, we find measures like the eight-hour work day and free, popular education given conspicuous place.

Marx and Engels understood and set forth with remarkable clearness and strength the need for physical, mental and moral efficiency on the part of the workers as prerequisites of their success. They understood and pointed out the unfitness of the slum proletariat, whose conditions of life necessarily fit it to be a reactionary force rather than a progressive and revolutionary force. On the other hand, they proclaimed the increasing misery and degradation of the proletariat in terms which compel us to conclude that they did not believe much could be done by the economic and political organization of the proletariat to check that misery and degradation. There is a terrible fatalism in the manner in which they picture the degradation and pauperization of the workers as one of the conditions essential to comprehensive social change:

"The modern laborer . . . instead of rising with the progress of industry, sink deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and

-317-

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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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