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Synopsis

Friedrich Engels was a German-English industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research. In 1848 he co-authored The Communist Manifesto with Karl Marx, and later he supported Marx financially to do research and write Das Kapital. After Marxs death Engels edited the second and third volumes. Additionally, Engels organized Marxs notes on the Theories of Surplus Value and this was later published as the fourth volume of Capital.

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The pettifogging business tricks of the Polish Jew, the representative in Europe of commerce in its lowest stage, those tricks that serve him so well in his own country, and are generally practised there, he finds to be out of date and out of place when he comes to Hamburg or Berlin; and, again, the commission p. viagent, who hails from Berlin or Hamburg, Jew or Christian, after frequenting the Manchester Exchange for a few months, finds out that, in order to buy cotton yarn or cloth cheap, he, too, had better drop those slightly more refined but still miserable wiles and subterfuges which are considered the acme of cleverness in his native country.

...And for two reasons: Firstly, to do this properly, the size of the book must be about doubled; and, secondly, the first volume of "Das Kapital," by Karl Marx, an English translation of which is before the public, contains a very ample description of the state of the British working-class, as it was about 1865, that is to say, at the time when British industrial prosperity reached its culminating point.

...If even under the unparalleled commercial and industrial expansion, from 1848 to 1866, they have had to undergo such misery; if even then the great bulk of them experienced at best but a temporary improvement of their condition, while only a small, privileged, 'protected' minority was permanently benefited, what will it be when this dazzling period is brought finally to a close; when the present dreary stagnation shall not only become intensified, but this, its intensified condition, shall become the permanent and normal state of English trade?

...The new Unions were founded at a time when the faith in the eternity of the wages system was severely shaken; their founders and promoters were Socialists either consciously or by feeling; the masses, whose adhesion gave them strength, were rough, neglected, looked down upon by the working-class aristocracy; but p. xixthey had this immense advantage, that their minds were virgin soil, entirely free from the inherited "respectable" bourgeois prejudices which hampered the brains of the better situated "old" Unionists.

...Shut off from the towns, which they never entered, their yarn and woven stuff being delivered to travelling agents for payment of wages-so shut off that old people who lived quite in the neighbourhood of the town never went thither until they were robbed of their trade by the introduction of machinery and obliged to look about them in the towns for work-the weavers stood upon p. 3the moral and intellectual plane of the yeomen with whom they were usually immediately connected through their little holdings.

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