AP European History
27 October 2008
Differences in Utopian Socialists In the 19th Century
Utopian socialists such as Karl Marx and Revisionist socialists differed in many ways in their thoughts about the European economy and society within the 19th century. Their critiques on these subjects went both ways and both had many followers (as shown through Marxism). Karl Marx had always held a materialistic view of history, stating that economic forces drove history. This idea showed greatly as Marx noted that in the Capitalist system, the rich got richer and fewer and the poor got poorer and more numerous. This left many upset and increased the chance of a new revolution. Even still, the people would be unable to buy all the goods they produced and economic crises of overproduction and unemployment would become the rule. This all came to be because of the new Bourgeoisie system of the capitalist society. However, Marx’s ideas and thoughts paid off because in the three decades after his death, his theories dominated European workers’ movements even thought most were not united. However, Revisionist socialists had a whole different view of European economy and society. For example, Revisionist Karl Kautsky insisted that the Social Democratic party obeys strictly to orthodox Marxist principles. Though in other countries, however, revisionism made more progress; for example, Great Britain, where orthodox Marxism had never been that powerful (the Fabian Society, 1884, set basic principles of evolutionary socialism and later became the foundation of the British Labour party). However, later in history, most of these Socialist groups split due to the evolution of “Gradualism” (mainly formed in Russia). Karl Marx and many other Revisionist Socialists had many different critiques of nineteenth-century European economy and society, and their ideas brought about change in all different ways.