The Bourgeois and the Proletarians

It was interesting to see Marx and Engels refer to the bourgeois as revolutionary in their own right, seeming to place them on an equal playing field with the proletariat.  When they explained further, however, the distinctions between these two opposing revolutionary forces became clearer.  By severing relations formed under the feudal system throughout much of the world (especially Europe) and establishing a middle class, the bourgeois turned their focus exclusively to profit and self interest at the expense of those relegated to producing the materials the bourgeois required and desired.[1]  Rather than placing value either on society as a whole or upon individuals, the bourgeois valued only what could be exchanged and gained from them.[2]  This resulted in unapologetic exploitation of the lower class.  By continually revolutionizing production in order to gain more and more goods and personal property, the bourgeois uprooted all previous societal frameworks, creating one based solely on self-interest and personal gain.  As material desires spread outwards, nations became dependent upon one another in the constant quest for newer, more exotic goods.[3]  Nations who could not adapt to the new production methods and demands faced extinction.  By succumbing to these external, material pressure, these nations became bourgeois-based themselves by themselves, spreading the cycle outwards and enveloping European society.[4]

[1] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in Heritage of Western Civilization, eds. John L. Beatty and Oliver A. Johnson (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1995), 176

[2] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” 176.

[3] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” 177.

[4] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” 177.

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