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Socialism and social utopia

Utopian socialism is a term used to define the first currents of modern socialist thought. It is distinguished from later socialist thought by being based on idealism instead of materialism[citation needed][dubious ± discuss] . Although it is technically possible for any set of ideas or any person living at any time in history to be a utopian socialist, the term is most often applied to those socialists who lived in the first quarter of the 19th century who were ascribed the label "utopian" by later socialists to convey negative attitudes and naivete to dismiss their ideas as fanciful or unrealistic.[1] Religious sects whose members live communally, such as the Hutterites, for example, are not usually called "utopian socialists", although their way of living is a prime example. They have been categorized as religious socialists by some. Likewise, intentional communities based on socialist ideas could also be categorized as "utopian socialist".

Utopia ± literally ³nowheresville´ ± was the name of an imaginary republic described by Thomas More in which all social conflict and distress has been overcome. There have been many versions of Utopia over the years, many of them visions of socialist society. Although Marx and Engels defined their own socialism in opposition to Utopian Socialism (which had many advocates in the early nineteenth century), they had immense respect for the great Utopian socialists like Charles Fourier and Robert Owen.

By describing how people would live if everyone adhered to the socialist ethic, utopian socialism does three things: it inspires the oppressed to struggle and sacrifice for a better life, it gives a clear meaning to the aim of socialism, and it demonstrates how socialism is ethical, that is, that the precepts of socialism can be applied without excluding or exploiting anyone. The problem with Utopian socialism is that it does not concern itself with how to get there, presuming that the power of its own vision is sufficient, or with who the agent of the struggle for socialism may be, and, instead of deriving its ideal from criticism of existing conditions, it plucks its vision readymade from the creator¶s own mind. Over 40 versions of Utopia were published between 1700 and 1850. Engels makes special mention of Morelly¶s Code of Nature.

The utopian socialist thinkers did not use the term utopian to refer to their ideas. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels referred to all socialist ideas that were simply a vision and distant goal for society as utopian. Utopian socialists were likened to scientists who drew up elaborate designs and concepts for creating what socialists considered a more equal society. They were contrasted by scientific socialists, likened to engineers, who were defined as an integrated conception of the goal, the means to producing it, and the way that those means will inevitably be produced through examining social and economic phenomena.

without distinction of class. when once they understand their system. nay. Marx and Engels argued that certain intellectual characteristics of the Utopian socialists unified the disparate thinkers. Its task was no longer to manufacture a system of society as perfect as possible. as well as their own surroundings. part of an earlier publication. they reject all political. and by the force of example. Hence. the term "Utopian socialism" was introduced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto in 1848. and despite being labeled as utopian by later socialists. action. and endeavor. Marx criticized the economic and philosophical arguments of Proudhon set forth in The System of Economic Contradictions. Utopian socialists never actually used this name to describe themselves.[3] Marx and Engels wrote. Marx accused Proudhon of wanting to rise above the bourgeoisie. or economic perspectives. their aims were not always utopian with their values often included rigid support for the scientific method and creating a society based upon such. According to Engels. by small experiments. For how can people. even that of the most favored.This distinction was made clear in Engels' work Socialism: Utopian and Scientific (1892. and especially all revolutionary. to pave the way for the new social Gospel. They feel their form of cooperative socialism can be established among like-minded people within the existing society. but the necessary outcome of the struggle between two historically developed classes ± the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. "The undeveloped state of the class struggle. They want to improve the condition of every member of society. 1847) and used by later socialist thinkers to describe early socialist or quasi-socialist intellectuals who created hypothetical visions of egalitarian." Marx and Engels used the term "scientific socialism" to describe the type of socialism they saw themselves developing. to the ruling class. meritocratic or other notions of "perfect" societies without actually concerning themselves with the manner in which these societies could be created or sustained. In the history of Marx' thought and marxism. communalist. socialism was not "an accidental discovery of this or that ingenious brain. they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means. social. although Marx shortly before the publication of this pamphlet already attacked the ideas of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in Das Elend der Philosophie (originally written in French.[2] One key difference between "utopian socialists" and other socialists (including most anarchists) is that utopian socialists generally don't feel class struggle or political revolutions are necessary to implement their ideas[dubious ± discuss]. necessarily doomed to failure. the Anti-Dühring from 1878). In Das Elend der Philosophie. Utopian socialists were seen as wanting to expand the principles of the French revolution in order to create a more "rational" society and economic system. Although the utopian socialists did not share many common political. fail to see it in the best possible plan of the best possible state of society? Hence. they habitually appeal to society at large. but to examine the historical-economic succession of . In The Communist Manifesto. English title The Poverty of Philosophy. by preference. causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. or The Philosophy of Poverty. this work is pivotal in the distinction between the concepts of utopian socialism and what Marx and the marxists claimed as scientific socialism.

and to discover in the economic conditions thus created the means of ending the conflict. Cocos Vlad Emanoil 1211E . and were therefore not Utopian. Joshua Muravchik. Marx made untestable predictions about the future." Muravchik further argued that." argued that "Owen and Fourier and their followers were the real µscientific socialists. Dystopian visions are used to issue warnings about dangers within society or to demonstrate the absurdity of the dominant ideology of the day by following the idea through to its ³logical conclusion. and that Marx's view that socialism would be created by impersonal historical forces may lead one to conclude that it is unnecessary to strive for socialism. and Utopian visions have been powerful levers for action in the past. of hypothesis and test. This was not always the case however.´ It is said people today find it easier to imagine a global disaster than any real improvement in social conditions. while the postmodern distrust of progress makes Utopias unconvincing to most people in modern capitalist societies.¶ They hit upon the idea of socialism. So. let alone Utopia. For instance. Dystopia The opposite of ³Utopia´ is ³Dystopia´ (as in ³dysfunction´)." Critics have argued that Utopian socialists who established experimental communities were in fact trying to apply the scientific method to human social organization. because it will happen anyway. Dystopia is an effective ideological weapon. in from which these classes and their antagonism had of necessity sprung. on the basis of Karl Popper's definition of science as "the practice of experimentation. and they tested it by attempting to form socialist communities.