Modern World History 3.12 They Say "Cut Back," We Say "Fight Back"

So you're not a fan of capitalism. That's okay, there are plenty of other -isms you can check out. And good news: as long as you don't pick "cannibalism," we won't have to legally report you to the police. 

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Transcript

00:25

individual to do then? Well, there were actually quite a few alternative-isms to choose from. [lady talking to a man with mustache and a hat]

00:30

First there was utopianism. The people who bought into this ism thought they could...

00:35

create a perfect society. There would be peace, there would be love, [two unicorns with rainbow colored tail flying away]

00:39

there would be ice cream for everyone. Of course, every utopian group thought it's vision of a utopian... [a happy man holding a chocolate ice cream cone]

00:44

society was the one that was actually gonna work.

00:47

Those who believed that creating a flawless world was within their grasp tended to set up... [two men fighting in a boxing ring]

00:52

colonies, and communes, where they could experiment, and try to get the utopian formula...

00:57

just right. There was Brook Farm in Massachusetts, where... [two students performing an experiment]

01:00

adherents tried to juggle work, play, and making the world a better place.

01:04

Maybe they even juggled? Who knows. Unfortunately, Brook Farms'... [an artist juggling with bowling pins]

01:08

finances didn't survive the destruction-by-fire of the community's biggest do-it-yourself project.

01:13

And then there were the Rappites, a religious community... [two women and a man standing in front of a burning house]

01:16

whose members believed that Jesus would arrive within their lifetimes, and...

01:20

probably would be hanging out as Starbucks. Unfortunately for the Rappites, there views on celibacy.. [two women having coffee at Starbucks]

01:25

drove off all the younger members, and the group disintegrated. In short, utopian groups discovered that...

01:30

building the perfect society was a lot harder than it looked. [a man reading a book on how to build a perfect society]

01:34

Another major ism of this period was communism,

01:37

which we've talked a little about before. Karl Marx's version of

01:40

communism, aptly named Marxism, called for revolution... [a picture of Karl Marx]

01:44

and the end of inequality, and social classes, and centralized...

01:47

government. After all, Marx reasoned, if there are no social classes, then you don't need a... [picture of a woman showing her biceps]

01:52

centralized government to act as hall monitor, do ya? [a boy wearing a hall monitor sash]

01:55

In Marx's opinion, communism was the logical next step...

01:58

in humanity's evolution. He really, truly believed that revolution... [evolution from ape to a man]

02:01

was coming. And not the Dance, Dance kind of Revolution.

02:04

And the notion that really made Marx giggle with glee was that once communism...

02:07

was firmly established, workers would never be exploited again. [picture of a hand with palm folded into a fist]

02:11

Well, here's the lowdown on Marx's understanding of exploitation. Essentially, he...

02:15

believed that capitalism allowed businessmen to rig the value of goods, so they... [vegetable market with a sign board of tomatoes for $1.50/lb]

02:19

could bank more money. Let's say that Tom produces a pair of shoes for Joe, because...

02:23

Joe and Tom are part of the capitalist system where labor is undervalued. [man selling a shoe to a customer]

02:27

Joe only pays a dollar for Tom's shoes. Tom is sad and he can't even buy...

02:31

ice cream to cheer himself up. Joe, recognizing that the shoes Tom made are a...[sign board of $1.25 for an ice cream]

02:35

masterpiece of craftsmanship, turns around and sells the shoes to Harry for 50 bucks. Joe...

02:40

now has 49 beautiful dollars to call his own. Tom has one measly... [Joe selling the shoe to a customer for $50]

02:44

dollar and no ice cream. You might say Tom's feeling exploited. Given what we've...

02:48

learned so far about the Industrial Revolution, we can probably also see why many of the Toms of the world...

02:53

thought communism was awesome. That... [a group of people holding a sign board]

02:56

and they probably had ice cream every single night. Show-offs.

02:58

Our final ism of this lesson is anarchism. Unlike communism,

03:02

where government would eventually disappear because it was an unneeded and outdated... [a boy in the hospital bed]

03:06

institution, anarchists believed we oughta just ditch government first thing.

03:10

They also thought it would be fun to get rid of things like money, and employer-employee relationships. [a $100 bill lit on fire]

03:14

Some anarchists even suggested bringing in Michael J. Fox and his Delorean...

03:18

so the world could be returned to its pre-Industrial Revolution glory, where everyone... [man carrying a basket of apples]

03:22

kicked at the dirt with sticks and suffered from the plague. Clearly...

03:26

the problems sparked by the Industrial Revolution also fueled a lot of creative ideas on how to make... [a man fainting]

03:31

the world a better place. Thankfully, cannibalism did not make the top ten cut. [a man with fork and knife approaching other people]