Capitalism and Socialism

Marc Mulholland

in Bourgeois Liberty and the Politics of Fear

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199653577
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744594 | DOI:
Capitalism and Socialism

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The political and social significance of the rise of ‘trusts’ and ‘cartels’ is evaluated, with the suggestion that capitalist ‘nouveau riche’ tended to meld with traditional landed and political elites into an ‘oligarchy’. The development of ‘militarism’ is principally attributed to the technical requirements of modern armaments where land-borders are relatively insecure. Traditional liberalism, suspicious of augmented state-power, was increasingly untenable in this environment – but liberalism evolved rather than simply collapsing. Nonetheless, radical democratic liberalism was clearly weakened, and into the space it vacated stepped a socialist workers’ movement in many countries. Socialists in the ‘Second International’, such as Wilhelm Liebknecht, Karl Kautsky, Eduard Bernstein, and Rosa Luxemburg, argued whether the labour movement had taken up the democratic cause abandoned by the bourgeoisie: but it was not clear, in fact, whether socialists had any better idea about how to force responsible constitutionalism onto semi-absolutist executive states.

Keywords: cartels; trusts; militarism; Second International; Karl Kautsky; Rosa Luxemburg; Eduard Bernstein; oligarchy

Chapter.  11277 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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