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Download The Condition of the Working-Class in England from Personal Observations and Authentic Sources. ePub

by ENGELS

Download The Condition of the Working-Class in England from Personal Observations and Authentic Sources. ePub
  • ISBN 0631120513
  • ISBN13 978-0631120513
  • Language English
  • Author ENGELS
  • Publisher Moscow Progress 1980.; New Ed edition (July 24, 1980)
  • Pages 422
  • Formats docx mbr lit mobi
  • Category Social Science
  • Subcategory Politics and Government
  • Size ePub 1658 kb
  • Size Fb2 1320 kb
  • Rating: 4.4
  • Votes: 757


Engels also co-authored three major works with Marx, the most important being the Communist Manifesto (1948).

Friedrich Engels is perhaps best remembered as the confidant, colleague, and benefactor of Karl Marx. Engels also co-authored three major works with Marx, the most important being the Communist Manifesto (1948). Engels also wrote several historical works, which are more important to historians than to economists.

The Condition of the Working Class in England (German: Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England) is an 1845 book by the German philosopher Friedrich Engels.

Engels' first book, it was originally written in German as Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England; an English translation was published in 1885.

Engels left for England in the autumn of 1842, making his first personal contact with Marx on the way, and . The idea of writing a book about the condition of the lal ouring classes was not in itself original

Engels left for England in the autumn of 1842, making his first personal contact with Marx on the way, and remained there for the better part of two years, observing, studying. The idea of writing a book about the condition of the lal ouring classes was not in itself original. By the 18 os it had become clear to every intelligent observer that th<&.ecollomically advanced parts of Europe faced a social prc,blem w hic h was no longer Simply that of the poor' but of a historically unprecedented class, the proletariat.

Condition of the Working Class in England. Ten months have elapsed since, at the translator’s wish, I wrote the Appendixi to this book; and during these ten months, a revolution has been accomplished in American society such as, in any other country, would have taken at least ten years.

Engels wrote the piece while staying in Manchester from 1842 to 1844, based on th bohis observations and several contemporary reports conducted over the period. Summary by Cathy Barratt).

Friedrich Engels' classic "The Condition of the Working Class in England" was written when he was only twenty-four, and had but recently abandoned his Calvinist upbringing for a more critical, socialist, point of view.

The condition of the working-class is the real basis and point of. .Only in England can the proletariat be studied in all its relations and from all sides.

The condition of the working-class is the real basis and point of departure of all social movements of the present because it is the highest and most unconcealed pinnacle of the social misery existing in our day. French and German working-class Communism are its direct, Fourierism and English Socialism, as well as the Communism of the German educated bourgeoisie, are its indirect products. Introduction (page numbers in a printed copy you use may differ. Count forward from the first page of the chapter).

Book titleThe Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. The Condition of the Working Class in england Analysis. Course: StuDocu Summary Library EN.

Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England by Friedrich Engels, 1973 . from personal observation and authentic sources.

Are you sure you want to remove The condition of the working-class in England from your list? The condition of the working-class in England. Published 1973 by Progress Publishers in Moscow.

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Light out of Fildon
Friedrich Engels, where are you now that we need you? I read this book in awe. First and foremost, at his age. He was 22, when he went to Manchester, England, in 1842. Like Tocqueville, who provided lasting insights into America, in his classic Democracy in America, Engels was a foreigner, a German, studying a new country, “afresh,” and perhaps that is the secret. The bias and blind spots are not already burned into the psyche. In only two years, he undertook an incredible extensive examination of the social and economic conditions of England as it was entering the Industrial Age. He published this work, in German, in 1845, ten years after Tocqueville had published his, in French. Engel’s work would finally be published into the language of the people he studied, in 1887.

Instead of seeing “In England’s Green and Pleasant Land,” Engels would be “Among these dark Satanic mills” to use two of the lines from William Blake’s “And did those feet in ancient times.” Engels is forthright in what he wanted to achieve, and that was more than a mere “abstract” knowledge of working class conditions. To accomplish this: “I forsook the company and the dinner-parties, the port wine and the champagne of the middle classes, and devoted my leisure hours almost exclusively to the intercourse with plain Working Men.”

Engels starts at the beginning, about how those dark satanic mills came to be. It was in 1764 that James Hargreaves invented the Jenny, for spinning yarn with more than one spool. In 1771, 5 million tons of cotton were imported into England, by 1840, the tonnage had increased 100-fold. A labo(u)r saving device, for sure. But it did not work out that way. Grinding, mindless, crushing labo(u)r only increased. And the wealth derived from all that work was co-opted by the few. The Industrial Revolution, as it was labeled, spanned far more than textiles, and included steel, railroads and significant changes in agriculture. The invention of the steam engine, by Watts, was also critical in the tremendous shift in societal and economic relationships.

I’ve marked virtually every page of this work, highlighting some of Engels observations. Consider: “The dissolution of mankind into monads, of which each one has a separate principle and a separate purpose, the world of atoms, is here carried out to the utmost extreme.” “… the Bishop of London called attention to this most poverty-stricken parish, people at the West End knew as little of it as of the savages of Australia or the South-Sea Islands.” The rhetoric can be scathing: “Care has been taken to give the brutal profit-greed of the bourgeois a hypocritical, civilized form, to restrain the manufacturers through the arm of the law from too conspicuous villainies, and thus to give them a pretext for self-complacency parading their sham philanthropy.”

In painful, painful detail, he describes the hovels that the workers lived in, their poor diet, the terrible health-effects on their lives. This work could be read simply as a work on public health. The various diseases, in particular, tuberculosis, and the physical deformities caused by working such long hours in difficult postures. In Sheffield, they ground metal blades, and those worker’s life expectancy was a full decade less than other workers, due to the inhalation of metal particles. Sanitation facilities were often simply non-existent. Engels provides plenty of statistics… perhaps too many for a reader almost two centuries removed, but the “proportionality” of some, sear today. Sexual harassment is topical; Engels says of the power of factory owners over female workers: “The threat of discharge suffices to overcome all resistance in nine cases out of ten, if not ninety-nine out of a hundred…” Immigration is also topical; Engels concludes that Irish immigration was permitted in order to lower the wages of the English working-class. Hum. A familiar ring, on both counts. He also covers the inadequacy, and often uselessness of grossly deficient educational systems. Hum. Redux.

Though most of his analysis is of the textile industry in Manchester, he devotes sections to the mining industry (horrendous!) and the transformation of the agricultural section into one of day-laborers. There are also chapters on the labor movements of the time, particularly The Chartists, and the various rebellions and strikes. Another chapter is on the bourgeois attitude towards the workers, that seem to be ripped from the current actions in Albuquerque to outlaw street beggars. Engels re-prints a letter from “The Manchester Guardian” from a “Lady” complaining about the hassles of dealing with street beggars. Oh… the hardships.

In two years, early in his youth, Engels obtained an understanding of the essential societal power relations and managed to articulate that understanding in a remarkable and lucid manner. He provided a reasonable definition for “murder,” and indicted the entire ruling class for how it was killing the working class. He predicted revolution, probably no later than 1852… one that never came. In the preface to his English editions, one for America, one for England, that were written four decades later, he never addressed why the revolution did not come. For that, and too many stats that I had to skip over, I cannot give it the full 6-star rating, but it should be considered an essential 5-star, plus, analysis, that remains all-too-relevant today… but who amongst us would predict a revolution in 2026?
Molotok
The natural price of labor is a concept used by 19th Century political economists as different as David Ricardo and Karl Marx. It refers to the minimum needed by wage laborers to survive and reproduce. It is a quantity that varies within narrow limits from person to person and place to place, but whatever its specific value, those who fall below the natural price do not survive. One way to read Friedrich Engels' classic The Condition of the Working Class in England is to take it as an exercise in finding out just how low the natural price can fall before the working class is threatened with extinction.

Ironically, Engels wrote his book while working at his father's Manchester cotton mills from 1842 to 1844. Textile manufacturing, especially cotton, was then the backbone of Great Britain's industrial might. Engels, on occasion, actually worked side by side with those who labored in the cotton mills, and he visited them in their homes and wherever else they might gather, including churches, taverns, and rooming houses. While conditions were a bit worse among workers in agriculture and especially mining, the circumstance of those who worked in factories, such as those owned by Engels' wealthy bourgeois father, were unthinkably deplorable. For readers who have had their world view shaken by Katherine Boo's account of slum life in Mumbai, it may seem impossible that conditions were far worse among English laborers in 1844, but according to Engels' account, that was certainly the case. Slum life in Mumbai is relatively comfortable when compared with Manchester and other English cities and towns in 1844.

Working sixteen hours a day and not infrequently even longer was commonplace for English laborers, with the meager compensation they received in exchange for their efforts varying with periodically changing economic conditions. Work places were hazardous, often lethally so, both with regard to the frequency of serious accidents and the closeted, polluted, and otherwise foul air breathed in unventilated buildings. In addition, discipline enforced by overseers hired for their uncompromising brutality, was harsh and arbitrary. Child labor, some as young as four or five, was commonplace, and women were subjected to the same destructive industrial regime as men. The work itself was typically tedious and repetitive, reducing men, women, and children to the status and condition of simple machines, until a machine was invented to do the same work even more cheaply. Then the workers were displaced, and thrown into the streets. As a result, starvation was not uncommon.

All this is easy to report, though it's difficult to do so without sounding a bit histrionic. However, even more frightening and deplorable was the actual condition of the people who survived this way of working and the meager nutrition and barely livable places of habitation it provided. Engels describes them as stunted in growth, with narrow chests, underdeveloped physiques, gray skin, and deformities of the arms and legs whose particular nature was determined by the unnatural bodily positions and movements required by the tasks to which they were tied. Engels' descriptions are frightfully vivid and endorsed by physicians and disinterested others, but most unexpected and compelling are the intellectual costs of wage labor.

Most of us in any society have a common stock of knowledge, things we unself-consciously know, without giving it a moment's thought, and we assume that others know as well. In this regard, however, English laborers were stunningly deficient. Many knew little or nothing of the world outside the demands of the workplace, their grotesquely deficient homes, and perhaps a roadhouse where they purchased spirits. Many if the younger ones, teens as well as those we today might call tots, didn't know that there was any other way of life. Ask them if they're tired or hungry, and the blank stares elicited by the query bespoke lack of understanding. The Hell of the workplace and the damp, dirt-floored, unheated, unfurnished, unventilated discomfort of their homes was all they knew or could imagine. And as noted above, miners and agricultural workers were worse off still. Life was lived according to a Malthusian prescription: short, nasty, and diseased. Just when it seemed that the natural price of labor could be no lower, an economic crisis would occur, and wages, unemployment rates, and the abysmally inhuman circumstances of the working class would deteriorate still further. Nevertheless, enough survived and enough reproduced to keep laborers on the job, with members of the ominously threatening surplus labor pool waiting to take their places.

Engels was convinced that circumstances such as these could not prevail indefinitely. Come the next economic crisis, or the one after that, and the more intelligent and worldly workers would lead the others in a violent revolution.

In time, however, world political and economic relationships changed, the self-interested bourgeoisie may have recognized that its interests were best served by workers whose prospects included more than a short and miserable life, and government intervention became more effective. What followed was still remotely distant from a workers' paradise, but there was no violent revolution in England. First published in German, in the Preface to the English edition (1885) of The Condition of the Working Class in England, Engel's refers the reader to Marx's Capital for a thorough account of these developments.

The Condition of the Working Class in England is not an unreliable, ideologically driven, Marxist polemic. It is a very well written piece of scholarship replete with documentation and reports of first-hand observations made by professionals and men of means who had no stake in contributing to a politicized fictional account of life among wage laborers. It is to Engels' credit that the book, while fairly long, is not redundant, citing the same outrages and abuses again and again. Engels keeps it interesting, enabling the reader to see the consequences of the economic savagery of the ostensibly civilized bourgeoisie. Engels acknowledges, moreover, that in a competitive capitalist economic environment, a war of all against all, survival as a bourgeois demanded unmitigated ruthlessness, whatever the consequences for the working class. The alternative was to eventually sink into the working class one's self.

As for the natural price of labor, I can't express its value in monetary terms, but it's certainly lower than I had ever imagined. In a world where those who don't die in infancy are old at thirty and dead at forty, and in the interim they are commodities unmercifully exploited by the bourgeoisie, the concept of the natural price of labor seems antiquated, misleading, and beside the point, which may explain why Engels didn't use it in this book. Perhaps those born dead were the lucky ones.