Engels idealized a society where advanced technology plays a critical role in shaping labor and society itself. The concepts are based on the work of Karl Marx, whose foundation revolved around the transformation of labor using machines. Both of them discuss how machines replace human labor, hence creating a hostile environment. The downfall of capitalism characterizes Engels’s utopia due to advancements in technology where there are many unemployed people, which increases the supply of consumerist commodities leading to low demand. A utopian society would lead to the sharing of property among the citizens. Consequently, various sectors of the economy would be affected, forcing them to adapt to the new society.
Some of modern society’s major characteristics include minimal government presence, an absolute absence of capitalism, and significant technological advancement. The food and service industry and the transport sectors would undergo reforms to ensure a favorable environment consistent with the new changes. The rights theory also plays a crucial role in highlighting positive and negative rights in providing peaceful existence in the utopia. Therefore, technological advancements in a utopian society would imply transformation that diminishes the structural facilitators of capitalism.
Since its inception, capitalism has developed and substantially gained root in many countries, replacing feudalism in medieval Europe. It is an excellent system of accumulating wealth as opposed to socialism and communism. Globalization has facilitated the rapid spread of capitalism across the world. The system has led to unprecedented inequality based on income levels, consumption, and wealth ownership (Acemoglu and Daron 14). These disparities have affected individuals and nations, creating world systems on which core nations are superior to the peripheral countries. Capitalist economies measure one’s success by the amount of money they have instead of other social aspects, such as health, literacy, community interactions, and environment. Several inadequacies are experienced, such as hunger, environmental degradation, illiteracy, and poor health due to capitalism’s inequalities.
However, there are several technological trends in present-day society that are likely to render capitalism less fundamental in the light of functionalism theory. The growth of the internet and the development of technologies, such as cryptocurrency, 3-D printing, free-energy technologies, and the workforce’s total automation, have revolutionized how transactions are conducted in society circumventing capitalist controls. Cryptocurrencies, for example, bitcoin, seek to create a decentralized global monetary currency devoid of government control. They can render the banking sector out-of-date since they are free from inflationary pressures, especially in countries with unstable economies. Cryptocurrencies also offer individuals an avenue to avoid paying taxes, which form the central part of a government’s revenue.
Furthermore, the use of clean, renewable, and sustainable energy characterizes energy-free technologies. Some of the options include solar, wind, geothermal, bacteria, biomass, hydrogen, algae, and electrostatic energy. Embracing the sources would reduce global warming levels tremendously and sustain all the people on the planet. A completely automated workforce would ensure that people have more time to pursue their desires without being bound by servitude or debt repayment. Through artificial intelligence, computers will have programs necessary for fulfilling all human social needs. Autonomous machines will perform tasks, such as constructing bridges, digging tunnels, and excavating canals. Such transformations would bridge the gap between capitalist structures and technological innovation co-existence, hence less dependent on the former.
In Engels Utopia, therefore, these advancements will be realized. People will not be exempt from work entirely, but they will work for personal fulfillment. They will have time to engage in music, art, or other recreational facilities without the unending difficulties caused by wages. Society members will adequately meet the food, healthcare, and education needs of every person. Sharing resources with those in need will bridge the gap between the bourgeoisie, the proletariat, and the poor.
Production processes will cater to consumption needs since no one will be motivated by profits. The transport industry will change since new modes of transport will be developed. Self-driven motor vehicles will be the norm as computer programs will aid in navigation. Google maps and automated assistants, such as Siri, will respond to humans’ commands, thus easing transport complexities. The advancement of technology will also revolutionize space, air, and sea travel. For example, scientists will develop new spaceships and rockets to aid travel to other planets and space exploration.
The internet has changed how people communicate by connecting people worldwide. Social media sites, such as Facebook, allow users to interact with family, friends, and colleagues. By sharing photos, videos, messages, and calls, users can socially connect with others. In an Engels utopia, the transport and communication channels will be highly advanced and direct, hence facilitating engagement among individuals with minimal government regulations, as well as capitalist structures. Notably, capitalism is devoid of systems with abundant and free-flowing resources. As a result, advancements, such as crypto-currencies, will largely contribute to Engels utopia’s overall functioning.
Since utopia is creating a perfect society for imperfect people, there needs to be a check and balances system to regulate the people’s conduct. The rights theory will outline the essential aspects of a persons’ rights, such as categories and the extent of the limitation. A person possesses inalienable rights that are not granted by the state and cannot be ignored or violated, including one’s right to life, the pursuit of happiness, and freedom of movement, as provided in the United States Declaration of Independence. The United Nations Human Rights Committee further offers for one’s right to liberty and the right not to be killed or harmed. Hence, these fundamental concepts, as well as systems, enable social order.
There is a clear distinction between positive and negative rights. The negative rights are the actions that one is free to engage in without interfering with the next person’s negative privileges. They include the right to privacy, religion, free speech, and moving from one place to another, among others. Positive rights are provided by the government whenever they are violated. They include the right to safety, information, shelter, clothing, medical treatment, and food. A sense of responsibility accompanies rights so that one’s freedom does not result in infringing others’ liberty. In this regard, a right to free speech requires tolerance and patience for other people with opposing views and contrary opinions.
Applying the rights theory in an Engels utopia is critical to ensure that people’s rights are adequately protected. Both the negative and positive rights are relevant but from a contrary perspective to the present-day society order. The advancement of technology will accord the people a platform to obtain information through the internet at their convenience. Their privacy, right to religion, food, medical treatment, and shelter will be protected since every person’s welfare will be prioritized in Engels’s utopia. There are no self-enrichment programs, and all people are equal; hence, there is a combined effort to maintain the status quo.
Acemoglu, Daron, and James A. Robinson. “The Rise and Decline of General Laws of Capitalism.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 29, no. 1, 2015, pp. 3-28. American Economic Association.