By definition, historical materialism is a philosophy that claims the economy is the actual cause of non-economic phenomena. Furthermore, it asserts that human communities and the cultural institutions to which they belong, such as religion, morality, and law, are extensions of collective economic activity. In reality, each of the economic structures or modes of production used by humans throughout history contained an inconsistency that eventually led to its demise and replacement by another mechanism in a later stage of social and economic development. The economic powers, or the relationship between people and the biological, natural, and physical world, and the material that drove the dialect of change. Engel further says that the internal contradiction is what sets the engine of history in the system of material production.
Therefore, the historical materialism is a theory of history that focuses on the human societies and the developments of the same over time. Besides, it determines both the organization and the development of the way a society tends to produce and reproduce the means through which human beings exist or the social relations of production and the society’s union of productive capacity. In general, the historical materialism examines the very causes that lead to both the developments and also changes in the human community that involves the means that is collectively used by people in the production of the necessities of their lives. Besides, it also puts light into the relationship between the social classes, the structures of politics and the ways of thinking in a society and how the said are founded on and hence reflecting the contemporary economic activity.
Pointedly, Capitalism leads to the elimination of smaller firms that cannot compete the large company made by the combined capitalist hence making the productive wealth to be concentrated in a few hands of the small groups of capitalists. Therefore, it brings the contradiction of capitalism that includes that between the increasingly conscious and also planned organizations of production that are within the firms of the capitalists. This proper planning and organization results from the unplanned, anarchistic nature, and the socialization of labor of the capitalist’s production. Unfortunately, the allocation of the productive resources of the capitalist society has no conscious plan that governs it; instead, it is done by the variation in the rate of profit and also the competitive drive of the firms of capitalists with the aim of maximizing their profits.
Secondly, there is the contradiction between the tendency that is employed towards the unlimited expansion of the production and the tight restrictions that are imposed by the capitalists to both the social and the individual consumption of the workers. The capitalists must impose such limits to achieve their aim of maximizing the surplus value that necessitates the limitation of the growth of real wages. Thirdly, there exists a contradiction between the potential of the massive hikes in the technology and science that ensures the social needs are fulfilled, and these potential productive forces are harnessed to the drive of private enrichment of the capitalists.
Another contradiction is between the drive to the maximization of profits by each of the firms owned by the capitalists through the increment of the productivity of labor by the increased mechanization. Besides, there is also use of the tendency of falling the average rate of profit due to the organic composition’s growth of the capital, which is the ratio between the amount machinery capital expenditure and the raw materials and the expenditure on the labor wages. Lastly, the contradiction that is between the product force internationalization that involves the creation of a world market and the objective socializing of the labor on a scale that is international, and the dividing of the world into separate nation states.
Notably, the inherent contradictions that are in the capitalist mode of production always explode into either more or less regular crises that include the commodities being overproduced or the over-accumulation of capital. These crises hence lead to a generalized declination of investment, employment, production, the purchasing power of labor and the income, and also the decline in general economic activities. Moreover, the form of appropriation of capitalists makes their private profit to be the only aim and the force behind the production. Usually, production should develop in the sectors that urgently need the social needs. Instead, the capitalists’ output advances by bounds and leaps where they can achieve the highest profits. Markedly, the rigidity of the capitalist systems also hampers the economic growth that is always required for promoting the full and unconstrained development of the production for the broad markets. Capitalism harbors the development of a very productive potential that can form the basis on which there can be the formation of the socialism.
Engels envisioned that a society that experiences progress and periodical changes are accompanied by the development of the women in that particular society towards freedom. However, the social systems that undergo decay bring along the reduction in the degree of freedom that is enjoyed by the women in that society. Hence, the fundamental principle of that can be used in all the social progress is the extension of the rights that women should enjoy. Again, Engels envisions that the civilization that had been postulated by Fourier develops a vicious circle that tends to throw up several contradictions but does not resolve them but arrive at a different destination as opposed that that which it should succeed. The author also envisioned a state where the middle class would be forced to search for the jobs of those in the lower class due to the disappearing of their previous jobs like the lawyers, parasitical class, and the doctors.
Importantly, there is a prediction of the contradictions between the capitalism and the communists where capitalism would only be replaced by a system that would be more rational but with the same strategies and aims. The system would include a collective appropriation of wealth. Also, the value that would be created by the workforce that is bound together would be shared collectively and used for goods that are common to all in the group. However, the social contradiction or the division in classes is an outcome of the sharing of profit among a few individuals while the work is done by the vast majority. In fact, the polarity between the capital and labor or that contrast found between the private appropriation and the socialized production arises when the passage from the capital owners’ system to work runs system is sparked off the reversal of the usual relation.