Industrial Capitalism and Imperialism Throughout the Course Essay

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¶ … Industrial Capitalism and Imperialism

Throughout the course of human history the issue of industrial capitalism and its long-term impacts has been hotly debated. This is because different philosophers believe that the focus on individual greed led to the imperialism at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. To fully understand these ideas there will be a focus on the different views of this system according to Engels, the relationship between the two systems and how this contributed to the colonization of Africa. Together, these elements will highlight the way both ideas influenced historical developments.

Who is the "working class" according to Engels?

According to Engels, the working class is described as those people who have lower amounts of skills, education and experience. They are forced to work in conditions that are often difficult for a small amount of wages (as compensation for their time). These are the people who allow the industrialization and the economic system to remain in place. (Engels 35 -- 158)

What are their working conditions like?

The working class is forced to endure conditions that are: unsafe, subject to extreme temperatures and they must spend at least 12 hours a day on the job. The combination of these factors created a situation where ordinary people were being exploited at the expense of the wealthy owners. Over the course of time, this creates vast economic disparities in society based upon these classes that have been established. (Engels 35 -- 158)

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What are their living conditions like?

The living conditions for most people are terrible. This is because they are forced to live in ghettos that are filled with: trash, raw sewage, rats, high levels crime and overcrowding. These different elements make it challenging for most people, as they have to struggle to survive. Engels believes that these kinds of inequalities are the direct result of the Industrial Revolution's lasting impact on society. (Engels 35 -- 158)

What political values do they seem to hold?

Essay on Industrial Capitalism and Imperialism Throughout the Course Assignment

The political values that they embraced were ideas that favored increasing their protections inside the workplace. At the same time, they wanted to see some kind of balancing out in the underlying economic inequalities within society. This means that they supported programs that were designed to take the profits away for the rich and redistribute them to everyone else. In some cases, this was occurring through actively becoming involved in unions that forced owners to work with labor in coming to an agreement about these issues. While at other times, these kinds of conditions helped to spark social revolutions. (Engels 35 -- 158) (Parsa 162 -- 196)

According to Engels, what political values should they hold?

Engels believed that the working class should have a sense of contempt for the rich. This is because they are being exploited by the affluent at all costs for their own benefit. Any kind of support they offer is helping to move them closer towards achieving these objectives. As a result, anyone who is in the working class should hold political values that are in favor of redistributing wealth. This is the only way that these problems can be effectively dealt with over the long-term. (Engels 35 -- 158)

What class is this working class in opposition with or being oppressed by in Great Britain?

The working class is opposed by wealthy inside Great Britain. This is because they are the traditional power structure that has been in place for many generations. They are against anything that will hurt their own self-interests. To protect themselves, the wealthy will often use the tools of the government in an effort to ensure compliance with this system. Once this takes place, is the point that the affluent will utilize any means necessary to achieve their own objectives. (Engels 276 -- 298)

Is this type of class-based oppression a new phenomenon, according to later writings of Engels and Karl Marx?

The tools and the kinds of tactics that are being utilized is a new form of oppression. However, the root causes of these divisions go back many centuries in countries such as Great Britain. This is where a class of aristocracy, ruled over the commoners based upon: the land and amount of resources they had at their disposal. Over the course of time, there were attempts to wrestle control away from this group with the implementation of representative government (i.e. Parliament). Yet, this group of wealthy individuals continued to maintain control despite these changes. (Engels 276 -- 298)

The Industrial Revolution has made these issues worse. This is because of a new found interest towards: increasing profit margins and productivity. Once this occurred, is when the wealthy were able to use their power and influence to benefit from these kinds of activities. As a result, the roots causes of economic inequality go back hundreds of years. In this aspect, there was a tradition of class-based oppression over many generations. What made the situation worse; is when the elite would use different resources and tactics in achieving their larger objectives. (Engels 276 -- 298)

What seems to be the nature of the relationship if any between industrial capitalism and imperialism during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The nature of industrial capitalism and imperialism is how they were interconnected during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This was occurring with many European nations rapidly industrializing. To be able to ensure that they have access to low cost natural resources, there was a focus on controlling specific regions. During this time, a number of colonies were established around the globe with the intention of addressing these fundamental issues. (Duiker 392 -- 258)

This is following a logical progression of industrial capitalism, under this approach there was a focus on: maximizing profits as much as possible and controlling the means of production. These areas were designed to give manufacturers the ability to have a cost advantage over foreign competitors. For different nation states, this could help to increase their wealth and economic status on the world stage (by having access to specific resources that are in demand). These elements, are showing how the selfish nature of individual capitalism, set the stage for imperialism and the colonization of specific regions of the world. (Duiker 392 -- 258)

Adam Hochschild and Joseph Conrad describe European colonialism and imperialism in Africa. What is the nature of European efforts or goals (cultural, economic, political, and social) in Africa that they describe?

The goals of European efforts will vary from one country to the next. In some cases (i.e. Belgium), there was an emphasis on controlling every aspect of daily life inside their African colonies. This is because the Belgians believed that they were helping to civilize different regions by: imposing their values, beliefs and ideas upon them. As a result, they created a culture that was urbanized and divided based upon these distinctions. This meant that select areas such as large urban centers were practicing these traditions. While many rural areas of the country continued to embrace different historical African traditions and they rejected any kind of Belgian-based customs.

From an economic and political perspective, these ideas were used to give the Belgians direct control over the economy and natural resources. This meant that they imposed a political structure that was similar to their own and utilized Africans to perform manual labor for extracting these materials. This is illustrating, how some European countries wanted to maintain direct control over their African colonies. (Conrad 83 -- 149) (Hochschild 101 -- 164) (Gainty)

However, there were times when other countries (i.e. Great Britain), exercised indirect control. Under this kind of arrangement, the British controlled the larger economic and political agenda for the colony. Yet, socially and culturally, the local population continued to embrace the same kind of traditional customs. Economically, the British would have local officials control the region and provide the natural resources they required. This kind of approach was used to reduce the total amounts of control and address the larger economic / political objectives of the British. (Conrad 83 -- 149) (Hochschild 101 -- 164) (Gainty)

Does imperialism there change over time?

Yes. This is because the demands of the mother country will constantly shift. Once this takes place, is when they will begin to impose new restrictions on a particular colony. This is a part of an effort, to maintain economic and political control. While at the same time, it is allowing the foreign power to adjust with new challenges they are facing with international markets. This means that there will be changes in demand for certain natural resources in comparison with others. (Conrad 83 -- 149) (Hochschild 101 -- 164) (Gainty)

In what ways to Africans resist or assist European efforts?

The way that Africans resist European efforts is to directly engage their forces militarily. At the same time, the population can become involved in a general strike. This is designed to prevent the flow of natural resources out of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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