• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent has socialism been defined by it's opposition to capitalism

Extracts from this document...


To what extent has socialism been defined by it's opposition to capitalism The history of socialism has been punctuated with a number of revisions of its traditional ideals. These have included several revisions of the relationship between socialism and capitalism. Whereas traditional socialist thinkers such as Karl Marx saw socialism as fundamentally opposed to capitalism, and the abolishment of the capitalism system was their primary goal, socialism has developed dramatically to an extent that modern socialist thinkers arguing that socialism can exist alongside capitalism. Marx saw capitalism is against human nature. He believed humans were sociable and co-operative, but capitalism was a system which encouraged competition and pursuits of self-interest, and split the community into two opposing classes; the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. ...read more.


However with capitalism developing and maturing throughout the twentieth century, it proved itself to be a flexible. The working class were also supported by a variety of institutions such as trade unions and political parties, all campaigning for their interests. Social democrats acknowledged this, and unlike their predecessors who were committed to destroying capitalism, social democrats advocated 'taming' capitalism rather than rejecting and abolishing it. Many have admitted that capitalism is a reliable generator of wealth, but still disagreed with social injustice produced by it. Some have seemed less concerned with who owns the means of production, and more with who benefits from it. This is contrasted with traditional socialists view of capitalism, seeing it as exploitative and against human nature, forcing individuals to be competitive and self seeking, rather than co-operative and sociable. ...read more.


Social democrats have accepted a privately owned economy, they have stressed that it is not who owns the economy that concerns them, but who benefits from it. Although some have criticised Blair's third way rhetorics as merely responding to the electoral pressures. He still aims to provide social justice, although his methods and principles appear to be a departure from traditional socialists. Blair has been keen to embrace capitalism, and has been condemned by critics as sympathizing with the modern liberal ideology. His 'New Deal' approach to inequalities in society In conclusion, the industrialisation of the twentieth century has been marked by the development of capitalism as a stable and flexible system. In reaction to this, socialist has also developed, redefining itself as an ideology, particularly in concern of socialist's relationship with capitalism, rather than it's original position against capitalism. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. 'Socialists have disagreed on both the means and ends of socialism' - Discuss

    However, the type of socialism that results from a gradual transition rather than a revolution is very different both in theory and in practice. While a revolution allows for a completely new system of government, parliamentary socialists have to dilute and in some cases revise their ideas in order to achieve electoral success.

  2. To what extent has socialism been defined by its opposition to capitalism?

    Marx especially was damming of the capitalist system. He took a highly different analysis to how the system operates than how liberal theorists examine capitalism, he said that the history of capitalism has been a continual class struggle with the

  1. Why does Marx believe that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism?

    The struggle between the two led to the moving to the sequential economic system - capitalism. Capitalism emerged from feudalism partly due to the conflict discussed above. Feudal society consisted mainly of peasants tilling small plots of land in order to provide for themselves and to make a livelihood.

  2. In what ways has British Socialism differed from other forms of Socialism seen elsewhere? ...

    These countries see the principle of worker's self-management to be the key regulator in industry. Due to an inherently social nature 'collectivist' models of production seemed the logical manifestation of our ties of love and affection for our fellow man in production.

  1. To what extent has socialism been defined by its opposition to capitalism?

    The state which was managed by the elite capitalists would wither away, and the socialist's optimistic view of human nature meant that there would not be as much of a requirement for government. Towards the end of the 19th century, socialism had to evolve, due to improved working conditions for

  2. The rise of the Labour Party had more to do with class consciousness than ...

    Some socialists felt that the trade unions were narrow, elitist bodies were actually obstructed the advancement of workers' rights. This argument is plausible, as in 1900 just 2.1million workers were union members, from a potential workforce of 16million. Members' interests and general workers' interests were, at strongest, shared on occasion by dint of coincidence.

  1. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    Conservatism, not risk-taking, becomes the modal orientation to action. Persons in the private sector, and the mass media, lament attitude, sometimes stridently. They overlook, perhaps, that they themselves are partly responsible for the shortcomings that they criticize. Conservatism also grows out of the fact that these organizations are much more

  2. Is socialism a relevant ideology in 2012?

    able to remain intact and have a 13 year stretch in power and prevent their main opposition the Tories from gaining a majority of seats. Considering that the only socialist party who have managed to remain stable and powerful are a party that have moved away from socialism there is

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work