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According to Marx and Engels, why and how does capitalism simultaneously produce wealth and abundance on one hand and misery, impoverishment, and ruin on the other? Refer to at least two of the following texts: The 1844 Manuscripts; The Communist Manifesto; Das Kapital; Marx’s theory of metabolic rift.

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When writing about Marx and Engels’s ideas on capitalism, you should think in terms of the free market (and its chaotic competition) and of worker exploitation. Let’s look at these in more detail so that you can return to the texts to complete your assignment.

For Marx and Engels, the free market of capitalism is anarchic. It lacks governance because of the fluctuations of supply and demand. Business owners, Marx says in Das Kapital, are the ones who profit from this system. These capitalists own the means and processes of production, the factories and tools and raw materials, and therefore, they grow wealthy as competition ramps up and they can charge more for their goods.

The workers, however, get the short end of the stick, so to speak. They are exploited by the capitalists, and they have little or no chance of seeing profit from what they make. They receive a wage, but it usually does not come close to providing the full value of their labor. Further, the work is monotonous and degrading, not at all suitable for free human beings. Workers often cannot even afford to buy the products they make. Herein likes the impoverishment and misery.

In The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels argue that capitalism will not be sustainable long-term and that socialism will take precedence and balance out the inequalities.

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