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Communism as a way of solving workers’ problems in the 19th Century
Historical context of communism/ Marxism
During the period of Industrialization, workers experienced problems associated payment. The owners of the industries gained more compared to the workers who provided an important resource towards ensuring that the industries were able to produce a lot of income. During this period, the society was divided into classes depending on the income that one had. The resulting problem was that most of the people were not able to afford the most basic needs that any human requires to be alive. Most people viewed this system as a way that could lead to poverty as majority of the people were workers. The few that owned the companies had the ability to afford luxurious lifestyle. There was need to come up with a way of leveling the lives of the people. This type of lifestyle led to the inclusion of children and young women into the workforce (Bedatch & Max, 1925). The workforce was an integral part of the production process but did not enjoy the profits that came from the company. This is a situation that promoted communist thinkers and the government to try and come up with ways that could ensure that every person could benefit from the benefits from the factories. The welfare of the workers was also put into consideration by both parties. Communists like Karl Marx came up with some of the best ideas that could help to change the situation in the society. The importance of this was to create a society where every person was equal to the other.
During the 19th Century, the working class did not get sufficient pay. The reason why children and women had to work in the factories was to supplement the amount of money that the men would earn, which was not enough for the families. The workers also worked for long hours, about 13 to 18 hours in a day. The textile mills were the main factories that employed most of the workers. The workers did not have a welfare that could help to fight for their rights. They had to put up with the harsh working conditions because it is the only they could get income to afford the basic needs. The owners of the textiles had so much focus on the profits. Increasing the pay of the workers would reduce the amount of profits they make. The workers were forced to bring a lot of income for the owner of the textile in form of profits and would receive too little in return (Bedatch & Max, 1925).
The British government came up with Factory Act in 1847 that aimed to reduce the number of working hours. The number of working hours was reduced from 13-18 hours to 10 hours. No child under the age of nine was allowed to work in the factories. The factories were also prompted to take into consideration the welfare of the workers. All machinery was to be fenced and no child was allowed to clean the machines when at work.
For the communist thinkers, they suggested a system that could level the manner in which resources were used by the community. They aimed to do away with the issue of profits. The money from the factories was to be used in providing resources to every person in the community. Communal ownership of the resources would result into a situation where every person would afford the basic needs. The need for a classless society was the driving force for the communists. Karl Marx stated that no human being should have more power over the other (Bedatch & Max, 1925). He argued that this is how the company owners were able to manipulate the workers to work in the companies for long hours with little pay. The communist ideas provided a better solution to the problems caused by industrialization in the 19th Century.
Bedatch, Max. (1925). Principles of Communism. Little Red Library. Chicago: Daily worker Publishers. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
“Children in Factories”. Morning post. 27 March 1841.
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