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Socialism, Utopian and Scientific [Paperback]

Friedrich Engels
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

13 Jan 2012
This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1907. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... Note by the American Publisher This little volume is an exact reproduction of the standard English translation of one of the most noteworthy books of the nineteenth century. To Engels scarcely less than to Marx is due the impetus to clear thinking which has placed the Socialism of continental Europe in a commanding position, where it is recognized as the hope of the workers and the terror of the rulers. Socialism Utopian And Scientific has been translated into the language of every capitalist nation, and wherever it has gone it has been an inspiration. In America it has thus far been known by the rather expensive edition (imported by Charles Scribner's Sons) from which this edition is reprinted, and by an earlier and somewhat inferior translation, printed in fine type and published without the remarkable introduction written by Engels in 1892 and here presented. The appendix on the origin of the German Mark has been omitted from the present edition for the reason that the development of agriculture in this country has been so different from that in Europe that this appendix would be more confusing than helpful to the average American reader. Signs are not wanting that the growth of Socialism in America will be rapid. The easy victory of organized capital represented in the Republican party, over the discordant elements of the now superfluous middle class, leaves a clear field for the organization of hand workers and brain workers into the party destined to build a new and better social order out of the crumbling ruins of capitalism. Charles H. Kerr. February, /goo. INTRODUCTION. The present little book is, originally, a part of a larger- whole. About 1875, Dr. & Duhring, priveldocenl at Berlin University, suddenly and rather cla...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 28 pages
  • Publisher: General Books LLC (13 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1458869806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1458869807
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 18.9 x 0.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,258,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Friedrich Engels (1820-95) was born into a prosperous business family in Barmen near Dusseldorf. Although apprenticed to his father's business firm, Engel's sympathies moved quickly in the direction of Communism, an orientation which was cemented by the beginning of his lifelong collaboration with Marx in 1844. They jointly published The Communist Manifesto on the eve of the 1848 revolutions. In 1850 Engels moved to Manchester where he eventually became a partner in his father's firm, continuing to help Marx who was engaged in writing Das Kapital. On retirement in 1870, he settled in London from where his books such as Anti-Dühring had an immense influence on the nascent Marxist movement.

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?Engels' Feuerbach contains by far the best account of the development of his and Marx's mind from Hegelianism to their own theory of Dialectical Materialism.?-New Statesman & Nation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one to read after the "Manifesto" 11 Feb 2011
By Derek Jones TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the best text to read for those seek an acquaintance with Marxism, and is the book most often recommended on introductory courses. It is simultaneously more detailed and easier to read than the "Communist Manifesto".

Engels begins with the eighteenth century philosophers who "prepared men's minds for the coming revolution and for whom Reason became the sole measure of everything." He then examines the work of three men he dubs "Utopian" socialists - St. Simon, Fourier and Owen - who advanced beyond the philosophers in seeing the need for economic as well as political equality. However, says Engels, they shared the same error in supposing mankind can be liberated by truth and reason. St. Simon's error was to divide warring classes into workers (including the bourgeoisie) and "idlers". Fourier brilliantly satirized the bourgeoisie but did not fully understand capitalism. Robert Owen wanted a communist society but wrongly thought it could be achieved by co-operatives. All Utopian socialists failed to understand historical processes.

All this is an introduction to one of Engels' favourite hobby-horses - so-called scientific socialism, which Engels said was given a boost by the 1831 working class rising in Lyons and the peak of the Chartist movement in England between 1838 and 1842. These showed there was no chance of a harmony of interest between the classes and "it was seen that all past history, with the exception of the primitive stages, was the history of class struggles." Of course, it was only Marx who had made the key discoveries. Engels writes:
"These two great discoveries, the materialist conception of history, and the revelation of the secret of capitalist production through surplus value, we owe to Marx.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engels` bestseller 13 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
Written in 1880 by Engels - this turned out to be a bestseller in its time being published in several languages. It is comprised of three brief chapters:
1. Chapter 1 - reviews the Utopian socialists - Saint - Simon; Fourier and Owen. The chapter concludes with Engels stating: "To make a Socialism, it had first to be placed upon a real basis".
2. The second chapter presents Socialism as a science and pays homage to Marx`s two great discoveries (or insights): the materialistic conception of history and the revelation of the secret of capitalistic production through surplus value.
3. The third chapter sets out the historical evolution of capitalism from medieval society to the current day and projects the future proletarian revolution. In the chapter Engels also deals with crises in capitalism - not without interest in current times.
The book is heavily influenced by its times - the triumph of scientific discoveries in the nineteenth century and Engels therefore seeks to draw parallels with Marx`s own (scientific) work on historical materialism.
I found the introductions (three of them) by Engels and Marx to also be of interest. There are some flashes of wit from Engels on the foibles of the English bourgeoisie. "In England," he remarks, "the bourgeosie never held sway...The fact was, the English middle class of that time were, as a rule, quite uneducated upstarts, and could not help leaving to the aristocracy those superior Government places where other qualifications were required than mere insular narrowness and insular conceit, seasoned by business sharpness"(!).
Probably not one of Engels` better known works, it is a brief work and definitely worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a good edition 7 July 2011
By Joukuu
Format:Paperback
Just a word of warning. This book is very cheap, but there is a reason for it. It is somehow automatically scanned and typed from an older edition. It contains lots of mistakes and typos and the sections are not clearly separated.

Not really worth it.

The book, of course, is a classic, but it deserves proper editing.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Redundant prophecy but perspicacious history 23 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback
Engels had decided, in the 1840s, that the emerging science of economics demonstrated, beyond doubt, that capitalism was doomed and proletarian triumph inevitable. Events refused to conform to Marx and Engels' predictions but the two held firm to the faith as the decades passed.

In this book, Engels gives a critique of the well meaning, but misguided, efforts of Proudhon, Saint- Simon and Robert Owen. They had not discovered the magic (sorry, scientific) concept of 'surplus value', the price of a product which was in excess of its worth as computed by the hours of paid labour.

In the ensuing 130 years, the computation of a 'fair price' has proved an elusive quest. Reading Engels' lucid prose, with the benefit of hindsight, elicits both smiles at the naivete, as well as shudders of horror at the awful events that transpired in the 20th century, when so many leaders throughout the world were convinced that the muddled notions of Marx and Engels were gospel truth.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great weapon for fighting for change 12 Jun 2006
By Tony Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This pamphlet was selected by Marx and Engels from Engel's large book _Anti-Duhring_ Along with the Communist Manifesto, Socialist Scientific and Utopian constitutes the basic foundation, the easy to understand, exciting to read, and profound primer for the revolutionary working class point of view, scientific socialism that Marx and Engels founded. It links their political and philosophic views in a clear and concise and very readable booklet.

Engels provides not simply a discussion of utopian socialism and its differences with scientific socialism, but does it in a way that outlines why the ruling capitalist class of modern society will not cede power to working people peacefully, why this society is so forcefully organized to preserve the exploitation and oppression working people, women, oppressed peoples, and the former colonial countries face at the hands of the big business interests of the US, Europe, and Japan.

I might add that one of the unexpected joys of reading this and the rest of Anti-Duhring is that despite the philosophical and political rigor and seriousness, Engels is always able to put in a little humor and a little wit.

While this book is not always available on Amazon, it is always available from BooksfromPathfinder, an Amazon Z store that you can get to by clicking on New and Used further up this page!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what the "Venus Project" and others fail to confront 25 Oct 2009
By Always Cogitating - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This work is a very basic intro to dialectical materialism and historical materialism. It should be looked at again with fresh eyes, as the utter catastrophe for humanity that CAPITALISM is has become obvious for all. Too many people today are not using a scientific methodology to look at historical experience and today's reality. Venus Project? "Socially responsible corporations?" -- it was all tried before, and summed up brilliantly in this pamplet. Robert Owens came up against the fact that the STATE (the government, it's courts, police and all its armed forces) is not a neutral body standing above classes, but in fact is controlled and serves the dominate class of society, which today continues to be the capitalist class (and many have documented who the individuals are in these classes in the US and other countries today.)
The fact that today, the economy of the world is dominated by finance capital and monopolies that spread across the world (while still rooted in individual nations and protected by national armies, CIA's, etc)is a natural and inevitable product of the workings of the "free market" competition of capital.
I recommend also looking at Lenin's "Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism" and Bob Avakian's "Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy" for some other basic explanations of why these Utopian schemes are doomed to failure, and why proletarian revolution can enable us to embark on the road out of this. Also see Raymond Lotta's work on both today's economic crisis and the historical experience of socialism.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF ENGELS' MOST SIGNIFICANT AND INFLUENTIAL WORKS 3 Feb 2012
By Steven H. Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was a German political theorist and developer of Marxist theory, who financially supported Marx for many years. After Marx's death Engels edited the second and third volumes of "Das Kapital."

In his Introduction to the English edition of the booklet (which was first published as a series of articles in about 1880), Engels defines historical materialism as "that view of the course of history, which seeks the ultimate cause ... of all important historical events in the economic development of society, in the consequent division of society into distinct classes, and in the struggles of these classes against one another." (Pg. 16)

He rejects the Hegelian system of interpreting history (pg. 50), noting that "it was seen that ALL past history, with the exception of its primitive stages, was the history of class struggles." (Pg. 51) He proclaims triumphantly, "These two great discoveries... we owe to Marx. With these discoveries socialism became a science." (Pg. 53)

He expands on the materialist conception of history, arguing that the final causes of all social and political changes are to be sought, "not in men's brains... but in changes in the modes of production and exchange." (Pg. 54) Once socialism has triumphed, he predicts that "The state is 'abolished.' It dies out." (Pg. 70) [Of course, long-term ostensibly "Socialist" states such as Russia and China never seemed to have reached this stage; hmmm...]

This is nevertheless one of Engels' most important works, and is essential reading to grasp his ideas.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one to read after the "Manifesto" 11 Mar 2011
By Derek Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the best text to read for those seek an acquaintance with Marxism, and is the book most often recommended on introductory courses. It is simultaneously more detailed and easier to read than the "Communist Manifesto".

Engels begins with the eighteenth century philosophers who "prepared men's minds for the coming revolution and for whom Reason became the sole measure of everything." He then proceeds to examine the work of three men he dubs "Utopian" socialists - St. Simon, Fourier and Owen - who advanced beyond the philosophers in seeing the need for economic as well as political equality. However, says Engels, they shared the same error in supposing mankind can be liberated by truth and reason. St. Simon's error was to divide warring classes into workers and "idlers". Fourier brilliantly satirized the bourgeoisie but was unable to fully understand capitalism. Robert Owen came to desire a communistic society but wrongly thought it could be achieved by co-operatives. All Utopian socialists failed to understand historical processes.

All this is an introduction to one of Engels' favourite hobby-horses - so-called scientific socialism, which Engels said was given a boost by the 1831 working class rising in Lyons and the peak of the Chartist movement in England between 1838 and 1842. These showed there was no chance of a harmony of interest between the classes and "it was seen that all past history, with the exception of the primitive stages, was the history of class struggles." Of course, it was only Marx who had made the key discoveries. Engels writes:
"These two great discoveries, the materialist conception of history, and the revelation of the secret of capitalist production through surplus value, we owe to Marx. With these discoveries socialism became a science."

The materialist conception of history sees economic relationships as the key shaper of historical events. In Marxism, the all-important economic structure, or "foundation", of society determines the "superstructure" of ideas, morals, religion, institutions etc. In its extreme form historical materialism is completely deterministic, and in this form it is open to serious objections. Though Marx and Engels probably did not do enough to disown the enthusiasm for determinism of their supporters it is clear they meant something less. Later Engels was to write that economics "is in the last resort decisive" but adds that "the various elements of the superstructure...exert an influence of the historical struggles, and in many instances determine their form." The problem for the reader is to know what "in the last resort" actually means. How much can be reduced to economics? For example, Marx may have been right to suppose the bourgeoisie saw religion as useful "opium of the people" but it is hard to believe that the religious impulse itself is artificially manufactured.

The second strand in "scientific socialism" is the labour theory of value, which asserts that labour is not paid the full value of its product - the difference between the wage and the value of the workers' labour being profit. From this dubious proposition an edifice is built to demonstrate that (scientifically speaking) revolution is inevitable, to be followed by a classless society without political authority. The labour theory of value means that profit is by definition exploitation. The nature of capitalism means constant competition with wages driven down to subsistence level, and when they can fall no further capitalists turn to machines, which create a "reserve army of the unemployed". Wages become so low that not all the goods produced can be purchased, i.e. over-production. This leads to trade cycles of booms and slumps and ever-deepening crises. The constant competition also means that over time the number of firms is reduced with a tendency towards a few large firms, which is an inherent contradiction within capitalism, and both Engels and Marx are keen to identify such "contradictions" as part of the dialectical process they see operating. Not surprisingly, they think all this breeds alienation among the proletariat. Eventually revolution in the most advanced capitalist states will overthrow the bourgeoisie and usher in a classless society. However, capitalism has not seen society divided into just two classes and the proletariat has not sunk into the pitiful state predicted.

After the revolution political authority will disappear for only administrative functions will remain. Engels has a great deal to say about this, though not as much as Lenin. He writes about the workers seizing control of the bourgeois state and in a well-known passage concludes with the following words:
"The first act by virtue of which the state really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society - the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society - this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a state. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the processes of production. The state is not `abolished'. It dies out."

Here Engels makes a distinction between government and politics on the one hand, and administration on the other. Marx and Engels believed that all important disagreements between people would disappear along with classes, and any remaining disagreements could be settled amicably. The only remaining authority would be that necessary to organise industry. Boundless optimism is expressed about man's qualities under these circumstances, and most people today concede Marx's contention that human nature is not fixed but alters with the social and economic conditions of the age.

But is human nature quite as pliable as Marx and Engels supposed? And even if we lived in a world without private property would all the issues at the heart of British politics today disappear? This seems unlikely given debates about health, education, the environment, agriculture and moral issues such as abortion and animal rights.
14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick, easy, lightweight intro to Socialism 23 Oct 2000
By JP Marston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are looking for a book to bolster your defense of, or attack upon, socialism, this is not the book for you. Instead, this short read provides an easy introduction into the development of Socialism, from its idealistic early proponents to those later in the 19th century attempting to define a more realistic socialism.
While Engels provides an overview of the "superiority" of socialism over capitalism, his arguments helped me to understand the motivation for socialism, rather than providing a rigorous defense.
As a libertarian, I don't agree with Engels that the capitalist exploits the wage laborer -- I think the stronger argument can be made that the capitalist enables the wage laborer -- but Engels does present his position clearly.
If you are looking for a good, short introduction to socialism, this is the book for you.
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