Political Science Answer Writing Practice - Week 1 - Question 1
90 Days Political Science Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 04-Dec-2017
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04-Dec-2017 - Question 1
Discuss the key features of pre-Marxist socialist theory.(2015)
The idea of a socialist society is as old as class society itself. Socialism is an ideology of working class. It is called meta-ideology as it has many country-specific and person-specific varieties. Socialism existed much before the advent of Capitalism but as a political ideology, it emerged as a reaction of Capitalism. Socialism shares the advent of industrialization, science and modernity as a tool to achieve human progress with capitalism but it is against the social and economic system established by Capitalism in the process. Socialism believes that better and equitable organization of society is not only possible but also desirable.
C E M Joad calls Socialism as a hat who has lost its shape. He explains that as there is a certain appeal to Socialism, everyone wears the hat. Karl Marx is known as the father of modern-day scientific socialism which he termed as Praxis . The influence of Marx is so great that the history of socialism is divided into two categories: Pre-Marxist and Post-Marxist.
The socialists before Marx, are called as Utopian socialists. Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, and St. Simon is prominent Utopian socialist among them.
- Appeal to conscience and reason of the Capitalist: St Simon was of the view that socialist communities should be created and all societal actors should be made participants in that activity, including the Capitalists. Utopian Socialists believed that it was possible to achieve a perfect society without any revolution, and that it was possible to achieve a utopia without violence.
- The scale of Socialism: Robert Owen did not recommend restructuring of the society but he was in favour of giving more participation of workers in the factory decision making and making them sole beneficiaries in the end. He called this thought process as new harmony experiment.
- Only critic and no correction: The socialists before Marx could not do anything except counterposing what is with what ought to be as the material conditions didn t exist to realize their ideas. The Utopians were brilliant critics of industrial capitalism but they did not look to the class struggle.
They faced criticism from later day Socialists like Engels and Marx. Marx accused St.Simon of being a bourgeoisie thinker . Marx held that the idea of socialism wasn't enough. One couldn't simply counterpose what is with what ought to be. One had to show how it could be transformed into the other with the materials at hand .
Engles held that the separation of society into an exploiting and an exploited class...was the necessary consequences of the deficient and restricted development of production in former times . As there are new scientific methods which will improve productivity, the earlier thought out Socialistic society can be achieved in practice.
The Pre-Marxist socialists provided intellectual ground and a direction to conduct a thought process. They are criticized by later day socialists but they were the ones infecting the collective consciousness of the society with the ideas of Socialism and the credit is due to them to generate theoretical awareness about Socialism.