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The Historical Background of the Communist Manifesto

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  • George R. Boyer
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    Abstract

    This paper attempts to place the economic analysis of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels's Communist Manifesto in historical perspective. The author begins by summarizing the analysis of capitalist economic development in the Manifesto, and showing how it was strongly influenced by developments in the cotton industry in Manchester, England. He then examines the economic, social, and political conditions in Manchester and the surrounding cotton towns during the 1830s and 1840s, drawing on the views of contemporary observers and recent research by economic historians. The paper concludes by discussing why Marx and Engels's predictions for the imminent collapse of capitalism were wrong.

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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.12.4.151
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

    Volume (Year): 12 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
    Pages: 151-174

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    Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:12:y:1998:i:4:p:151-74

    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.12.4.151
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    1. Horrell, Sara & Humphries, Jane, 1992. "Old Questions, New Data, and Alternative Perspectives: Families' Living Standards in the Industrial Revolution," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(04), pages 849-880, December.
    2. Stanley L. Engerman, 1997. "The Standard of Living Debate in International Perspective: Measures and Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: Health and Welfare during Industrialization, pages 17-46 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. N. F. R. Crafts, 1997. "Some Dimensions of the ‘Quality of Life’ During the British Industrial Revolution," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 50(4), pages 617-639, November.
    4. T.h. Hollingsworth, 1977. "Mortality in the British peerage families since 1600," Population (french edition), Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED), vol. 32(1), pages 323-352.
    5. Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "English Workers' Real Wages: Reply to Crafts," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 45(01), pages 145-153, March.
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    Cited by:
    1. Bourdieu, Jérôme & Reynaud, Bénédicte, 1999. "Social aspects of the decrease in working hours in 19th century France," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9912, CEPREMAP.
    2. Eric Vanhaute & Richard Paping & Cormac Ó Gráda, 2006. "The European subsistence crisis of 1845-1850 - a comparative perspective," Working Papers 200609, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.

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