Socialism in Nineteenth Century Europe

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Socialism in Nineteenth Century Europe

As with communism, socialism has never come into an indisputably positive light. Both have been revolutionary ideas, though with differences, but neither have proven practical when applied to real life, real economics and real societies. It was hard to find any positive feedback, opinion or article on socialism other than Lenin’s. In fact, it would seem that Socialism, rather than as a force for good, has been viewed as a potential failure: „Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.“ (Winston Chruchhill)

Though the origins of socialism have their beginnings in the ideals of the french revolution, it truly came into its own in the nineteenth century as a critique of the industrial revolution. The turn of the century saw the upheaval of western european society as agricultural and industrial progresses meant that for the first time more people were living in the city than in the countryside. This is what is known as a rural exodus and it changed the surface of society.

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With this social change came the developement of new social philosophies. An important critical thinker of the late 18th century who is credited as being the father of modern capitalism is Adam Smith. He put forward the idea of credited self-interest and free competition as the driving forces of a capitalist society. This complemented the new industries that were growing, especially in the United Kingdom as it implied Machiavellian approach to economics- „the end justifies the means“.

This individualistic attitude resulted in an acceleration driven by personal profit in all aspects of society. As the market and industry grew so ...

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