Today's discussion revolved around the initiation of communism. What was important to understand from today's discussion was the environment into which communism was introduced: the factory system was a completely unchecked enterprise-the only thing that could control how much workers were paid was the number of unemployed workers out on the street. If there were a bunch of people unemployed, then the factory owner simply could hire the one willing to take the least amount per day for his services. Because factory work at that time required few specific skills, there was no reason for a factory owner to pay someone more than necessary. Necessary, in this case, was very little.
Of course, this lead to a situation in which the rich got A LOT richer and the more got A LOT poorer. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels saw this as a problem and, unlike Toqueville (who felt that Democracy was inherently a good thing), felt that true equality could only be reached in a system in which the government collects all private property and wealth and redistributes equally among the population. Communism was born.
As you read for today, the Communist Manifesto laid out ten ways in which the government would acquire wealth in order to create what the communists believed would be a more equal society. This was in great contrast to the American system at the time in which the role of the government was simply to provide defense and basic infrastructure (roads and things like that).
So the question that remains is: what is the role of government in the lives of the people? Should government be more like the communists wanted, in which the government intervenes in order to create a sense of equality (whatever they feel that "equality" means) or is government better when it is more like the "laissez-faire" style that was going on in the United States, in which government left all economic elements alone and chose not to intervene regardless of the situation?
What do you think?