Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith is a work that can be regarded as the most comprehensive in reflecting the industrial revolution. Smith presented what can be considered as the main principles leading to the prosperity and wealth of the nation. The author states that labor division is the main factor of economical growth. The author follows with the issue of the price of the produced goods and services, arguing that labor is the creating factor of that price.
Generally, labor as a key factor of the principle of trade, is given wider consideration, where either in labor division or the production as a whole, labor was the first element of barter trade. Accordingly, the labor division is a result of human nature’s propensity to trade. As a result, the theory of labor division can be interpreted as mutual beneficence, where personal interests, such as improving one’s positions, were put as a top priority. The principle of self-beneficence along with demand and supply serve as regulatory elements in the trade, in which external regulations, such as “statesman and lawgiver”, do not serve this process.
Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels is a comprehensive work that stated opposing views of liberal capitalism. The main statement of the authors is that communism is the necessary solution to the class struggle witnessed throughout history in various forms. The class division, as stated in the book, resulted in the formation of two principal layers- bourgeoisie or the class owning capital, and proletariat or the working class that had been exploited by the bourgeoisie. The authors argue that this division is created by the bourgeoisie where they “pushed into the background every class” to keep the same proportion stable since Middle Ages.
The basic mean in removing this inequality is by overthrowing the bourgeoisie and strip them from their property and wealth so they no longer will be able to have the tools to control. In that sense, the property in the new society will belong to the state, which also includes communication and transport and accordingly the rent for this property will be used in public purposes. Further principles of Communism extend to practicing equality in every economic and social aspect, such as equality between town and country, equal distribution of population, and equally free education.
The two works can be considered as utmost contrary which nevertheless make them influential in that sense. The approaches expressed are totally different in a way that Smith seeks to improve by explaining and proposing directions, and Marx on the other hand is revolutionizing and rebuilding from scratch. At the same time, it should be noted that generally, the means used by Smith to achieve his goals are considered as the main obstacles in achieving Marx’s goals. However, one common point is existent within the two works which is the importance of labor, where Smith acknowledged it as the main factor in the economy, and Marx as the fundamental of the new society.
The importance of the two works cannot be overestimated as both of them had formed two camps that were successfully competing for a certain period of time that shaped the main opposition of the twentieth century. The two works are also perfect examples of the way different approaches and goals can lead to different results, despite that the chosen direction was identical in both works, which is prosperity. As mostly the result of the opposition between those two ideologies is known, we can trace back and witness that neither of them was able to exist without further modifications.