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Publisher's Summary

In "Socialism: Utopian and Scientific" (1883), Friedrich Engels explains that Marxism is scientific socialism. Engels claims that whereas utopian socialism is idealist, reflects the personal opinions of the authors and claims that society can be adapted based on these opinions, scientific socialism derives itself from reality. It focuses on the materialist conception of history, which is based on an analysis over history, and concludes that communism naturally follows capitalism.

Engels begins the text by chronicling the thought of utopian socialists, starting with Saint-Simon. He then proceeds to Fourier and Robert Owen. In chapter two, he summarizes dialectics, and then chronicles the thought from the ancient Greeks to Hegel. Chapter three summarizes dialectics in relation to economic and social struggles, essentially echoing the words of Marx.

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was a German philosopher, social scientist, journalist and businessman. He founded Marxist theory together with Karl Marx.
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Essential Text

To change this world we must first understand it. This is an essential text for communists.

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This is a great book but the audio is too quiet. It's difficult to hear

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Learning the Basics

Overall a solid and quick little pamphlet. Though honestly if you're interested in socialist / communist literature, this is pretty basic. Engels provides a quick rundown of how the state of capitalism evolved out of the feudal system. He outlines the major trends within those revolutionary and counter-revolutionary elements during his time and the times preceding, and the effects capitalism has had culturally and economically on the state of human interaction in the world. All of this is looked at from a highly materialist, highly scientific lens, the Scientific new Marxism to contrast the old idealistic Utopian socialism which was more in kind with philosophy or spiritual conjecture.

There're crash-course touchstones on the labor theory of value, the concept of capital and wage relations, the materialist / evolutionary lens of human development, etc. Honestly, if you're familiar with Marxist principles, or even Hegel, nothing in this text should be particularly new or surprising to you. It's more a history lesson coupled with a philosophical rebuttal. That said, it is amazing to see how astute, even by today's standards, someone like Engels was through his use of the materialist dialectical lens. He sounds as if he could be a major scholar in the present day, where so many of his contemporaries fell by the wayside.

The section on the development of capitalism out of feudalism is probably the most engaging and novel part. At least I thought so. If you're a fan of history you'll likely enjoy it as well. Too often do we look at history as a series of vignettes, removed from the constant change, evolution, revolution, etc. that defines any given point in history and makes it inseparable from both its before and after. We tend to see history as "dead" as Engels puts it, rather than full of its actual life. As a big fan of fantasy fiction and other things which derive from feudal aesthetics, I have a great fascination with analyses of how the old feudal systems were broken down and remade into the modern capitalist era in such a sudden and dramatic fashion.