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Difference Between

Utopian and Scientific


Socialism
Contents
Introduction: .......................................................................................................... 2
Utopian Socialism: ................................................................................................. 2
Scientific Socialism: ................................................................................................ 3
Comparative Analysis of Scientific and Utopian Socialism: .................................... 3
Evaluation: ............................................................................................................. 5
Conclusion: ............................................................................................................ 7
References ............................................................................................................. 7

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Introduction: Socialism is a social and economic system characterized by social
ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the
economy, as well as a political theory and movement that aims at the establishment
of such a system wherein all the inhabitants would be happy and free from poverty
and its cruel sting.. Here social ownership refers to cooperative enterprises, common
ownership, state ownership achieved by nationalism, citizen ownership of equity or
any combination of these. At the beginning of the 16th century, Thomas Moore in
his ‘Utopia’ outlines this type of society which is criticized by Karl Marx and Angels
as a Utopian Socialism. Though they criticized moor’s utopian socialism, on the
basis of it they developed their concept modern socialism or scientific socialism at
the 19th century. According to the question the definition of Utopian Socialism and
the comparative discussion between Utopian and Scientific Socialism are given in
below.
Utopian Socialism: Utopian socialism is the first currents of the modern socialist
thought as shown by the work of Thomas Moore, Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles
Fourier and Robert Owen, Which inspired Karl Marx and other early socialist. It is
an economic system based on the idea that if capital voluntarily surrendered its
ownership of the means of production to the state or the workers, unemployment and
poverty would be no more.
Utopian socialists never actually used this name to describe themselves; the term
"Utopian socialism" was introduced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The
Communist Manifesto in 1848. The term was used by later socialist thinkers to
describe early socialist or quasi-socialist intellectuals who created hypothetical
visions of egalitarian, communalist, meritocratic, or other notions of "perfect"
societies without actually concerning themselves with the manner in which these
societies could be created or sustained.
Utopian socialism is often described as the presentation of visions and outlines for
imaginary or futuristic ideal societies, with positive ideals being the main reason for
moving society in such a direction. It also refers to human efforts to create a
theoretically perfect society. It refers to good but impossible proposals- or at least
ones that are difficult to carry out.
Utopia – literally – was the name of an imaginary republic described by Thomas
More in which all social conflict and distress has been overcome. He wrote Utopia in
1515, looking forward to a world of individual freedom and equality governed by
Reason, at a time when such a vision was almost inconceivable. According to him
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“In Utopia, where every man has a right to everything, they all know that if care is
taken to keep the public stores full, no private man can want anything; for among
them there is no unequal distribution, so that no man is poor, none in necessity, and
though no man has anything, yet they are all rich; for what can make a man so rich
as to lead a serene and cheerful life, free from anxieties;”
So, Utopian Socialism is a kind of socialism based on a belief that social ownership
of the means of production can be achieved by voluntary and peaceful surrender of
their capitals and the means of production by affluent groups to the state or the
workers, unemployment and poverty would be ended.
Scientific Socialism: Scientific socialism was developed by the Utopian Socialism.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed it through the inspiration of the Utopian
Socialism. It refers to a method for understanding and predicting social, economic,
and material phenomena by examining their historical trends through the use of
the scientific method in order to derive probable outcomes and probable future
developments.
Scientific Socialism is based on an analysis of existing material (economic and
technological) conditions of society and of their development, and uses this analysis
to predict probable future outcomes in terms of where society is moving toward.
Scientific Socialism was pioneered by Karl Marx and developed by Frederic Engels.
The scientific socialists were Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and they claimed
themselves as a Scientific Socialist.
Comparative Analysis of Scientific and Utopian Socialism: Socialism is a
social and economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of
production and co-operative management of the economy which is the basis of both
Scientific and Utopian socialism. After that on the basis of the nature of their theory
and practice they divided into two groups i.e. the Scientific Socialist and the Utopian
Socialist. But they have some similarities such as they (both Scientific and Utopian
Socialist) wanted to abolish the private ownership creating the social ownership on
the property. Unemployment and poverty elimination was the main purpose of both
Scientific and Utopian Socialism. They also wanted to establish a society based on
equality and equal ownership on property. Though they have these similarities, they
have some dissimilarities. These are in the following.

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Scientific Socialism Utopian Socialism
Scientific Socialism is based on an Utopian socialists start from an ideal
analysis of existing material (economic vision of society, which is based on
and technological) conditions of society subjective value-judgements, and then
and of their development, and uses this try to move society in that direction.
analysis to predict probable future
outcomes in terms of where society is
moving toward.
Socialism was seen as a logical outcome Socialism was seen as an outcome of
of capitalist development and capitalist voluntary and peaceful surrender of
crisis in it. their capitals and the means of
production by affluent groups to the
state or the workers.
Scientific socialism refers to a method It is the presentation of visions and
for understanding and predicting social, outlines for imaginary or futuristic ideal
economic, and material phenomena by societies. In this socialism, they did not
examining their historical trends outline how these society will be
through the use of the scientific established.
method in order to derive probable
outcomes and probable future
developments.
Scientific Socialism was pioneered by Perhaps the first utopian socialist
Karl Marx and developed by Frederic was Thomas More (1478-1535), who
Engels. The scientific socialists were wrote about an imaginary socialist
Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and they society in his book Utopia, which was
claimed themselves as a Scientific published in 1516 and later it was
Socialist. developed by Henri de Saint-Simon,
Charles Fourier and Robert Owen. But
they never claimed themselves as a
Utopian Socialists rather they were
criticized as Utopian Socialists by Karl
Marx and Hegel.
Scientific Socialism was both a method Utopian Socialism was only a theory.
as well as a content and body of There was no practical perception.
scientific conclusions, later becoming
both a theory and a practice.

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Scientific socialism was developed by Utopian Socialism was the first currents
the Utopian Socialism. Karl Marx and of modern socialist thought. It inspired
Friedrich Engels developed it through the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to
the inspiration of the Utopian Socialism. develop scientific socialism.
It is a realistic view. Modern Socialism It is fantastic or imaginary view of
is a scientific movement based upon the socialism in which there is no evolution
historic evolution of the past and the of historical events.
economic conditions of the present.

Modern scientific Socialism builds Utopian Socialists depicted a series of


upon reality. It looks upon society as an ideal social conditions by drawing upon
ever-changing category, and able to a fertile and imaginative idealism.
explain why society has changed in the
past and why it must change in the
future
Scientific Socialists believe in the Utopian Socialist do not believe in the
theory of class struggle. According to theory of class struggle. They think that
them- socialism is the outcome of the socialism is an outcome of voluntary
class antagonisms existing in the society and peaceful surrender of their capitals
of today between proprietors and non- and the means of production by affluent
proprietors, between capitalists and groups to the state or the workers.
wage-workers; on the other hand, of the
anarchy existing in production.

It is a new socialism. It is an old socialism.


Scientific Socialism was developed Utopian Socialism was developed
through scientific method. In this through imagination and fantasy.
socialism history was examined in a
laboratory.

Key thinkers of this group are Karl Key thinkers of this group are Thomas
Marx, Friedrich Engels and the Moore, Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles
contemporary modern socialist thinkers. Fourier and Robert Owen.

Evaluation: From the above discussion it can be said that, it is important to highlight
the commonalities between these two schools of thought first. Their introductions
into the philosophical discourse of their given times were considered radical, based
on their proponents challenging many traditional institutions and power structures.
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Both philosophical traditions yearn for a classless society– one where
socioeconomic classes or divisions do not hinder people’s ability to provide for
themselves and their families. These ideas inspired its proponents to do more than
talk; they inspired action, whether forming communal enclaves separate from
society or fighting revolutions to usurp power.
Utopian socialism predates its scientific counterpart. In fact, it predates Marx and
Engels’ seminal text. Prominent philosophers included Claude Henri de Rouvroy,
Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen. Inspired by the French Revolution, many of these
thinkers brought forth and celebrated classless principles such as women’s suffrage,
ending feudalism, labor unions, social safety nets, and communal living. Many of
these early 19th century thinkers inspired communal separation from the mainstream
society, where voluntary groups of people lived and worked outside the realms of
traditional culture. Utopian socialists could be considered the first hipsters of the
socialist movement. In other words, they were socialist before it was cool to be
socialist.
For utopian socialists, their namesake wasn’t created until after the fact. Although
deeply inspired by utopian socialist philosophers, Karl Marx added “utopian” as a
harsh label as a means of creating buffer zone of distinction between it and scientific
socialism. One of Marx’ biggest criticism of utopian socialism is that most of its
philosophical foundations predated the Industrial Revolution – a time of great
economic expansion and technological advancement that also stratified
socioeconomic classes and developed widening gaps of economic equity. Since
utopian thinkers were unable to summarize their philosophy on this specific
historical era, they were unable to identify with the class struggle, which is the
centerpiece of all modern socialist thinking.
Utopian socialism was a hodge-podge of classless principles that did not necessarily
root itself in empiricism. Marx sought to formalize and codify socialism as a
socioeconomic theory drenched in the scientific method. The development of
scientific socialism was tested in the laboratory of history. This philosophy
established its primary principle that all historical eras were the result of economic
conditions. Furthermore, those economic conditions produced inequalities in
political, social, and economic power. Economic class stratification was expedited
by the rise of industrial capitalism during the second half of the 19th century, which
created two disparate classes of people: the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The
former was the working class which only could provide labor as its primary form of
economic capital. The latter was the dominant class of those who owned land,
business, and political persuasion. As conditions worsened for the proletariat,
scientific socialism described the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system and its
subsequent replacement of a classless and stateless socialist system.
Despite its claims of objectivity, scientific socialism is not entirely science – at least,
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not in the same way physics, chemistry, microbiology, and other natural sciences
are. Many critics argue that the socioeconomic philosophy starts with its hypothesis
of class warfare and works backwards in history to prove its validity, which is the
exact opposite route of the scientific method. Scientific socialism is, like all other
ideologies, is lens that certain people use to view the world differently from others.

Conclusion: From the above mentioned discussion we can see that there are some
different between the two about their theory and practice. Regardless of their
differences, both utopian and scientific socialism vehemently challenged the status
quo of inequity and powerlessness of needy people throughout the world. The
historical impact of these philosophies cannot be denied – from the formation of the
Soviet Union to the wars that were fought to contain the spread of such ideologies
in recent decades. Though in decline in global popularity, socialism still presents
itself as an ever-present thorn in the side of the political establishment.

References
1. Frederick Engels; Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
2. Wm. Paul; Scientific Socialism Its Revolutionary: Aims and Methods
3. Easton, L. and Guddat, K,; 1967; Writings of Young Marx on Philosophy and
Society
4. Dr. Raj Sehgal; Karl Marx’s Scientific Socialism: A Defense
5. Ben Ruissen, Isidora Purkovic, Tijana Sero; Scientific Socialism - Marxism

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