The Communist Manifesto

by: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Wealth

1

The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, modern industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.

The authors explain how the Industrial Revolution introduced a large-scale, mechanized method of manufacture that was accompanied by a revised social structure that emphasized the acquisition of wealth by the new class of industrial leaders. These leaders became the bourgeoisie, who sit at the top of the system and control trade, industry, and thus the money flowing through society. They command the proletariat, whose members serve as their army of workers because the bourgeoisie alone have access to wealth. Such an economic and social structure concentrates power at the top and, most importantly, furthers the bourgeoisie’s goals of increasing personal profits.

2

The bourgeoisie . . . has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”.

The authors state that the capitalist bourgeoisie, interested only in what they perceive as good for them—greater wealth—have transformed society by centering all interactions between people on money. In the past, family, religious, political, and other ties bound people, but in this new capitalist system, the guiding principle in human relationships appears to be monetary gain. The authors argue that no concern is given to how a person can add to or enrich society. Even a human’s very worth appears to be based on how much money he possesses or can earn, not on personal or societal values.

3

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest . . . all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state[.]

The authors make explicit the connection between wealth and power by asserting that in order to upend the social structure, the proletariat must seize the bourgeoisie’s wealth and capital. While the bourgeoisie possess the power that stems from wealth, the proletariat possess the power of the masses. The proletariat should use its collective force to take away industry and return these means of production to the state. The existing government will then take on the role of the capitalists in running industry but with one key difference: sharing the wealth equally among all people.