capitalism/communismDid the rise of capitalism led to the development of communism and in your opinion how?  

Expert Answers
catd1115 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, if we say that Communism was a result of Marx's writings. Marx was writing about the rise of the working class, a working class that really only existed in Capitalist society. In addition unrestricted capitalism gave rise to the differences between rich and poor, or at least made them more visible. As noted above, these differences have always existed in society. I think capitalism created the middle class and this was really the class of people that Marx was speaking to, not the truly poor, who tended to live in rural areas. If we look at the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism as inexorably tied together then communism was certainly a result. The poor conditions of workers during the early Industrial Revolution (and in some countries, long after) was what made communism make sense and made it appeal to the people.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To the extent that capitalism gave rise to the Industrial Revolution, I think one can safely argue that it led to communism. Marx's whole idea of communism was that it was a revolt of the workers--the proletariat--against the capitalists. However, he believed that this revolution could not take place without the prior triumph of capitalism. 

Theory aside, I think it safe to say that the abuses suffered by the workers following the Industrial Revolution during which workers were depersonalized, degraded, and treated as a commodity, gave rise to communism. Communism was very much a reaction to the abuses of the Industrial Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution was the epitome of capitalist ideals.


brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely.  As industrial capitalism developed, especially in the 19th century, it did so with few legal restrictions or safeguards.  This led to two things which encouraged the birth of communism as a philosophy.

First, it created a huge disparity of wealth, with the number of people in poverty greatly outnumbering the rich, and many of the few rich people became obscenely so.

Second, unbridled capitalism created a vicious boom and bust cycle of economics that was very difficult for those at the bottom to survive, much less thrive, and in that environment, socialism and communism became attractive options.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I've mentioned this previously but like many here, it was the loss of power within skilled tradespeople groups that allowed capitalists to concentrate so much power and wealth within such a small group.  This loss of power and wage potential in the middle class led to massive abuses (not saying there weren't abuses before but these really were on a larger scale) of that power because of the sudden ability to produce things so cheaply and with such menial labor required of the people working in the factories.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Definitely yes.  Before capitalism, people pretty much worked for themselves (unless they were tenant farmers) and kept the fruits of their labor.  They worked at their own pace.  After capitalism, the mass of people were working for others and seeing the others get most of the wealth produced.  It was this sort of change that led to Marx's ideas.

justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It always intrigues me that a philosophy like communism arose when people saw a few owners of businesses amassing a lot of wealth which was usually considered (and perhaps was true) at their expense.

Why did nothing like this arise to make people stand up collectively against monarchy, feudalism and the alike.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Communism is at least partly a response to capitalism. There is a lot to find distasteful about capitalism. It does seem to be greed-based, and bring out the worst in society. It was also the dominant economic system, so naturally there had to be an opposing one.
accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It was capitalism and the injustices of this approach that helped Marx develop his approach to the economy and sociology. Seeing the massive disparity in wealth and power led him and others like him to argue for a fairer distribution of wealth and poverty.

moustacio | Student

According to Marx, capitalism is a necessary stage for the transition to communism. The capitalists, by paying the workers less than their labour’s worth, sought not only to exploit them, but also to actively condemn them to a life of poverty. Marx believed that it was only under such a system of exploitation, that the workers would be sufficiently angered enough by their own poor living conditions to rise up against the bourgeoisie, and incite a revolution to eventually achieve the goal of a communist utopia.