Outline of a critique of political economy

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By JEAN PAULO PEREIRA DE MENEZES*

Commentary on the essay by Friedrich Engels

Considering the debate on Marxian production, with emphasis on contributions to education, the analysis of a central author in the construction of Karl Marx's thought seemed fundamental. And here is an author of the greatest importance in the face of a whole tradition that arose, above all, after Marx's death: Friedrich Engels.[1]

Here we will try to present a few words about this first criticism of political economy. We do not share the idea in the Marxist tradition that treats Marx and Engels as uniforms. We are convinced of the differences between the two, however, there are great similarities, we will deal with some.

The first critique of political economy was not written by Marx. Engels was the first to look critically at political economy between the years 1843-1844 when he produced in Manchester the essay Outline of a critique of political economy”, published in the magazine Anais Franco Alemães in 1844.[2] An essay that had an emblematic influence on Marx's concerns, above all on the constitution of his main problematization of a lifetime: the critique of Marxian political economy. In the “Preface of 1859”, before his first version of a critique of political economy, Marx himself will refer to this work by Engels as being a brilliant draft of criticism. In Marx's own words: "Friedrich Engels, with whom I have maintained a permanent written exchange of ideas since the publication of his genial sketch of a critique of economic categories (in the Franco-German Annals), arrived by another route (compare his work Situation of the Working Class in England) to the same result as me; and when he, in the spring of 1845, also came to settle in Brussels, we decided to work out together our opposition against what is ideological in German philosophy; it was, in fact, about settling accounts with our old philosophical conscience” (MARX, 2005, p. 53).

It is important to highlight the “permanent exchange of ideas since the publication of his genial draft of a critique”, as this interlocution would only gain momentum until the last days of Marx. Engels is central to the Marxian trajectory, as a critic and revolutionary militant. It is Engels who first links up with part of the workers' movement and later convinces Marx to link up with the Just. The role of Engels, as well as the second violin (a statement made by Engels himself and which does not hold up), is fundamental for the constitution of Marxian critical thought, much more than what is still assumed by a good number of academic intellectuals who approach this author through his back doors or even through the marginal side.

In the 1844 text Engels starts from a moral critique of the national economy,[3] pointing out its limits with regard to its own constitution as a science of a certain nationality. It presents to its readers, in effect, to Marx, a critical perspective of political economy that will constitute one of the starting points for, still in the forties, Marx's investigations beyond the critique of idealist philosophy, reaching the critique of political economy in the fifties.

Engels sketches the rise of the national economy[4] associating it with what Marx called the phase of primitive accumulation of capital, more precisely, as it was called by the bourgeoisie of his time. It points out in this genesis the elaboration of a system of consented frauds that was found to be immanent to the very form of capitalist social relations in formation and maturation, that is, the text manages to capture for the present of the XNUMXth century, one of the constitutive characteristics of the forms of production and reproduction of life in the capitalist molds of sociability: fraud, corruption and exploitation.

Let’s see how the translation by Maria Filomena Viegas presents Engels’ words: “Political economy emerged as a natural consequence of the expansion of trade and, with it, an elaborate system of consenting frauds, a complete science in favor of enrichment replaced simple barter. , unscientific. This political economy, or better: this science of enrichment, born of mutual deceit and the ambition of merchants, bears on its forehead the mark of the most repugnant selfishness. People still lived under the naive notion that gold and money constituted wealth, and there was nothing more urgent to do than banning the export of “precious” metals everywhere. The nations viewed each other as misers, each clutching its prized bag of money and casting its neighbors envious and distrustful glances. They did everything to extract the maximum amount of currency from the people with whom they maintained commercial relations, retaining the money obtained in the end within their customs borders. The truly consistent application of this principle would liquidate commerce. It was intended, then, to go beyond this first stage: it was discovered that hoarded capital remains dead, while, circulating, it constantly increases. There was, therefore, greater sociability: coins were released as an appeal for others to join them and it was recognized that it is in no way harmful to pay too high a price to A for merchandise when it can be sold to B for an even higher price” (ENGELS, 1979, p. 02).

Initially, Engels points to the relationship of overcoming mercantilist thinking by the new science, the national economy. Even if guided by identifying part of the operating logic of the origin of wealth, this new science has its limits, as will be shown below. The belief of mercantilism in relation to hoarding as a reference of a nation's wealth was not, in fact, the central point of wealth accumulation, since metalism provided nothing more than hoarding, and this becoming dead and even stagnant capital, was not synonymous with value-producing accumulation. Circulation was more interesting than hoarding, and Engels recognizes this in national economists. However, the petty and selfish essence remained almost untouchable, as the author himself demonstrates.

And the moral element is radically marked in the opening words of the Outline by Engels. And, moral here is not to be confused with moralistic inflection. The moral element that we identified in the text is an element of high importance, since the author's perspective takes place from a postulating character of the transformation of that immediate present and thus the moral criticism is presented in a tonic way for the develop from the materialist analysis, which in this case has morality as its starting point, but is not limited to it, as it seems to us a practice present both in Marx and in Engels, the concern with the question of morality, but not only. Morality is of extreme relevance, but moral criticism alone was not defended as sufficient, it was necessary to move beyond the moral question and this is precisely what Engels does in the development of his sketch.

Let’s see: “Upon such foundations the mercantilist system was built [2] and in it the greedy character of commerce already assumed a slightly more disguised form: the nations made some approximations, concluded treaties of commerce and friendship, entered into negotiations and witnessed all possible pleasantries in honor of maximum profit. But, deep down, it was the same old thirst for money, the old selfishness that exploded from time to time in the wars that, in this period, were all based on commercial rivalry. In such wars, it was evident that trade, like plunder, rests on the law of the strongest; there were no scruples in extorting, by cunning or force, treaties of that kind, provided they were considered the most favourable. The main point of the whole mercantilist system is the theory of the balance of trade. In fact, as the principle that gold and money constituted wealth remained in force, only those businesses that, in short, brought sound currency to the country were appreciated as advantageous. To verify this, export and import were compared. If more was exported than imported, it was thought that the difference had entered the country in the form of hard currency and it was believed that it had become richer” (ENGELS, 1979, p. 02).

Engels sketches here another significant element that was present until Marx's greatest work in 1867. We refer to the identification of the limits of mercantilist economic policy, or as Marx called it in The capital: phase of primitive accumulation of capital.

In his studies on the critique of Political Economy, Marx will pay attention to this period that Engels points to in 1844, decades later, in 1867, in capital, dedicating several moments of the work to refer to the accumulation of capital and even dedicating an exclusive chapter to talk about this historical process.[5] Evidently, Marx is a tributary of other interlocutors, however, the objective here at this moment is to demonstrate how vital Engels was for Marx, from the early years, even when they were young, presenting problematizations that accompanied the entire trajectory of the author of our object of investigation. .

These considerations by Engels and Marx later reverberated in the debate on the mercantilist period, especially in the largest slave colony of the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries: Brazil. Authors linked to the historical sciences, in the XNUMXth and XNUMXst centuries, sought in Marx and Engels the foundations for promoting a debate about the phase of primitive accumulation of capital,[6] slavery being an unequal and combined form[7] to meet the interests of capitalism in development, even after the original (or primitive) accumulation of capital. What demonstrates the vitality and strength of the contributions of the XNUMXth century, taking Engels and Marx perspectives before la lettre.

Continuing with Engels, in the Outline, already appears another element that was remarkable in Marx. It is about the criticism that incorporates to overcome, or even overcome by incorporating. We identified a critical perspective that is concerned with understanding the object of criticism, internally, in order to, based on its assumptions, incorporate and overcome the limits of thought. This behavior is not only present in Marx, but is also a constitutive part of his method of investigation throughout his life. This procedure is representative of what Marx would call intellectual honesty, so rare among apologists, but verifiable in authors who postulate the production of an investigation of scientific history.[8]

It is not our intention to present an Engels that appears fully in Marx, just observe the criticism of Malthus and Smith that is presented in the Outline. Engels to some extent associates these two thinkers in a way that certainly Marx would not appreciate with the most accurate studies of him. But let us return here: Engels is making a Sketch. A brief study that, oh yes, interested us, provides Marx with a fundamental starting point for the development of studies which only materialized over the course of decades, always in partnership with Engels.[9]

“The art of economists thus consisted in ensuring that, at the end of each year, exports presented a favorable balance against imports – and it is in the name of this ridiculous illusion that thousands of men were massacred! Commerce also had its crusades and its inquisition. The eighteenth century, the century of revolution, also subverted the economy. But all the revolutions of this century only addressed one face of the antagonism, without going beyond the other. (This is why abstract materialism was opposed to abstract spiritualism, the republic to monarchy, the social contract to divine right.) The economic revolution, suddenly, could never overcome this antagonism. The assumptions remained the same.

Materialism did not attack the contempt and humiliation of man in Christianity: it limited itself to establishing nature as absolute in relation to man, substituting it for the Christian god. Politics did not think to examine, in and for itself, the assumptions of the State. Economics has not even had the idea of ​​asking itself what justifies private property. It is for this reason that the new economy constituted only half-way progress: it was forced to discover and deny its own presuppositions, to resort to sophistry and hypocrisy in order to camouflage the contradictions in which it struggled and to arrive at the conclusions it sought. it was guided not by its own hypotheses but by the spirit of the age. In this way, the economy assumes a philanthropic form, it stops favoring producers to support consumers; it reveals a holy horror for the bloody disorders of the mercantilist system, and suggests that the commercial bond establishes friendship and understanding between nations and individuals. Everything went well, it was magnificent!

But the assumptions very soon began to manifest themselves again and engendered, in opposition to this brilliant philanthropy, Malthus's theory of population - the crudest and most barbaric system that ever existed, the system of despair which reduced to dust all those fine phrases. on the subject of human fraternity and universal citizenship; they engendered and built the factory system and modern slavery which, in terms of inhumanity and cruelty, owe nothing to ancient slavery. The new economy, the free trade system, supported by wealth of nations, by Adam Smith, reveals itself as the hypocrisy, immorality and inconsequence that, at present, confront all domains of human freedom.

But wasn't Smith's system progress? Certainly yes, and even it was a necessary progress. It was necessary that the mercantilist system, with its monopolies and its obstacles to circulation, be subverted so that the true consequences of private property would appear clearly; all petty local and regional considerations had to be pushed into the background for the struggle of our time to become universal and humane; it was necessary for the theory of private property to abandon pure empiricism, with its solely objective research, to assume a more scientific character, which would make it equally responsible for its results and shift the thing to a human field in general, where the immorality contained in the old economics was brought to its highest expression because of its denial and the hypocrisy that necessarily follows from trying to deny it. All this is part of the nature of the process” (ENGELS, 1979, p. 02-03).

In the quotation above, it is possible to observe how the moral question is for Engels the starting point and not the point of concentration of his critique. The criticism here presents fundamental elements of what we call incorporating overcoming. Engels recognizes the absurd limits of mercantilism and points out the importance of the National Economy. However, he will not spare the criticism of this new science, also pointing out its limits and its real class purpose. Unmasking, even if introductory, the principle of progress that this would be bearer. It will be relentless in identifying the maintenance of the essence of elements such as exploitation and desperation for profit.

O Outline identifies significant transformations, but which still present phenomena that do not overcome the exploitation of one class under the other. And here, once again, we observe how this text by Engels was fundamental in the formation of Marx. In the studies of 1857-58, Marx is also looking for the best way to expose his studies to the public and that will take place in the year 1859, with regard to the critique of political economy, starting from an internal critique of national economists, accepting part of its presuppositions, but advancing in the direction of overcoming. And when he does, Marx also starts with the most immediate phenomenon: the commodity.[10]

Once again, on the world of merchandise, Engels argues with thinkers who also marked Marx's concerns. Let's see: “We voluntarily recognize that only the establishment and realization of free trade put us in a position to move beyond the economy of private property, but, at the same time, we have the right to place this freedom of trade in its total theoretical and practical nullity. Our judgment will be rightly revealed to be all the harsher the more the economists we evaluate are closer to our time. Whereas Smith and Malthus found only scattered elements conclusive, later economists had in view the completed system in its entirety: the consequences were drawn, the contradictions manifested themselves in the light of day clear enough, and yet they did not reexamine the premises, always accepting to answer for the process as a whole. The closer economists get to the present, the further they get away from honesty. The more time advances, the more sophisms necessarily increase. That is why, for example, Ricardo is more guilty than Adam Smith and Mac Culloch and Mill more guilty than Ricardo. Modern economics does not even manage to properly judge the mercantilist system, because it is partial and is still imprisoned by the presuppositions of this system. Only the point of view that goes beyond the antagonism of the two systems and criticizes their common presuppositions, starting from a purely human universal base, will be able to assign to both their exact position. It will be evident that the defenders of free trade are worse monopolists than the old mercantilists themselves” (ENGELS, 1979, p. 03-04).

Note that Engels considers the economists' postulations, incorporating and criticizing them with a view to overcoming their limits. And it is here that the critique also points to the vitality of the analysts' present. Engels considers David Ricardo from a historical present that is never disconnected from a trajectory, as he seeks to contextualize his critique of Political Economy not only of the most immediate present. For this, he insists on his moral criticism in the name of an intellectual honesty that is increasingly difficult to achieve in his present time on the part of thinkers of Political Economy. We will not extend to a deeper analysis of the reading that Engels has in relation to Marx's thought about Ricardo, but the relationship that he has in the face of the present has substantially interested us.

Like Engels, Marx will also consider his studies in a historical perspective, from the present, as it is the moment of becoming in which the synthesis of multiple determinations is presented in a more burning way. The present as history appears in the work of these two authors in an indelible way, it is enough to problematize the most phenomenal reasons that led them to Brussels and the consequent search for political organization in their historical time. The present, once again, is the stage of history, even in its evanescence, the starting point for the search for an understanding of historical totality.

The first critique of political economy already presented important theoretical and methodological elements to its most immediate interlocutor, since by postulating an outline of criticism, Engels also provided Marx with problematizations that the author of the 1859 text could dwell in depth over decades of studies and political organization.

History and the present time were also inseparable for Engels, as the phenomena of life reproduction correspond to a trajectory, not always phenomenally revealed, hence the need for scientific investigation. Indeed, the preoccupation with history from the present will mark the preoccupation of both Engels and Marx throughout their trajectory. A perspective inherited from Hegel, but in the process of being radically materialist from the 1840s onwards.

In 1844, Engels already raised a concern about the fundamental categories of the new science and outlined his criticism of its contradictions and ideologizations: “It will become evident that, behind the hypocritical humanism of the moderns, there is hidden a barbarism that the ancients did not imagine, […]. […] In the critique of political economy, we will examine the fundamental categories, demonstrate the contradiction introduced by the system of free trade and extract the consequences of the two aspects of the contradiction” (ENGELS, 1979, p. 04-05).

Predicting with absolute accuracy the influence of Engels on Marx based on this Engelsian critique in the Franco-German Annals in 1844 seemed unfeasible to us, however, the concern with the present, the starting point as the most phenomenal present, the concrete reality, the search for understanding the categories of what is criticized, the postulation of progress beyond the limits identified in the national economy and the present time as history, were some of the elements that we also identified in Marx as the author of our research object.

Advancing a little beyond the year 1844, to reinforce the importance of the present time as history already in Engels, we identified in his publication The situation of the working class in England, from 1845, elements that reinforce our problematizations in this section of the thesis where we place Engels as the first and fundamental critic of political economy for Marx. Thus, let us see how history and the present are fundamental for Engels when he deepens his investigation of the social question at the heart of nineteenth-century capitalism: wider work on the social history of England; but soon its importance forced me to delineate a particular study for it. The situation of the working class is the real basis from which all current movements emerged because it is, at the same time, the highest point and the most visible manifestation of the current miserable social situation” (ENGELS, 2008, p. 41).

In the preface of this publication, the moral question continues as a starting point in the immediate present and the concern of man in the present is placed as a central problematization for Engels. In the preface, he continues his critique of political economy, with investigative work that Marx also shares. We refer to research sources,[11] and, once again, the importance of the category of historical totality. The present is criticized having in hand the problematization of the workers' history, which we could safely call field work, via the development of interlocutions, which marks Engels' method. The present is the fundamental starting point.

Engels' criticism, already in the mid-1840s, recognizes the importance of long duration[12] when focusing on a phenomenon and prudently presents readers with a justification for a certain cut of the object, in view of a larger study project on the social history of England. However, presenting his investigation going back in time, which is not the same, chronologically, his research object to contextualize the present time where his problematizations about the working class rest.

In the words of Engels: “The history of the working class in England begins in the second half of the last century, with the invention of the steam engine. e of machines designed to process cotton. Such inventions, as is well known, triggered an industrial revolution that simultaneously transformed bourgeois society as a whole – a revolution whose historical significance is only now beginning to be recognized. England constitutes the classic terrain of this revolution, which was all the more grandiose the more silently it was carried out. That is why England is also the classic country for the development of the main result of this revolution: the proletariat. Only in England can the proletariat be studied in all its aspects and relationships” (ENGELS, 2008, p. 45).

Engels' procedure in the investigation of the situation of the working class in England is one that privileges a given aspect as an object, but at the same time considers it in a totality, not as a mere part that mechanically fulfills the whole, but as the synthesis of part of that all dialectically thought out.

Before entering the object itself, it presents the historical situation in which it is constitutive and, for that, it uses several sources for the investigation. A plurality of historical sources that not even the professional historians of his time admitted as valid for the writing of history. During our investigation we got elements to support this interlocution between Engels and Marx even about the types of historical sources used, where both, long before the Annals they already conceived them in their multiplicities for research. At this point Engels deposits a notable belief in their veracity, we say, in the reliability of the sources, being safe and reliable, as if the sources were absolutely bearers of such characteristics. Here, Engels does not escape historicism and the belief in reliable historical sources, owners of historical truth, but it is not just any Prussian historicism, as there is the consideration of a diversity of sources that puts him at the forefront of the history of historiography for decades German, French and English.

However, the most important point of our exposition is the one that allows us to understand Engels, in fact, the dialogue between Marx and Engels and the harmony between them, especially already presented by Engels in his criticism of Political Economy in the XNUMXth century.

From the years of 1845, the collaborations of one in the other intensify and it was not the object of our investigation to explore to what extent one is in another, or even, to what extent Engels is responsible, initially, in Marx, in the constitution of his main issue of his entire life: a critique of political economy. The first critique is that of Engels, but in the process of collaboration the Marxian synthesis of this critique gains proportions beyond the breadth proposed in the pages of the Franco-German Annals and from then on the collaboration between both will be so remarkable that we could say that one is contained in the other, only in the sense of convergences, but that the individuality of each one does not allow a homogenizing thought of the diversity that each one expressed in the trajectory they built .

*Jean Paulo Pereira de Menezes is a p researcherPhD in Education at the State University of Mato Grosso do Sul.

References


ENGELS, Friedrich. Outline of a critique of political economy. In: Magazine Human Sciences Themes. Translation by Maria Filomena Viegas and revision by José Paulo Netto. Sao Paulo, Ed. Human Sciences, 1979.

ENGELS, Friedrich. For the History of the League of Communists [1885]. Selected works. Translation: José Barata-Moura. Editorial Avante-Edições Progresso Lisboa – Moscow, Volume III, 1982.

ENGELS, Friedrich. The Condition of the Working Class in England. Sao Paulo: Boitempo, 2008.

GORENDER, Jacob. colonial slavery. Sao Paulo: Attica, 1978.

HOLANDA, Sérgio Buarque de (Organiser), Leopold Von Ranke: history. S. Paulo, Attica, 1979.

MARX, Karl (1859). For the Critique of Political Economy. Os Pensadores Collection, Nova Cultural, São Paulo, 2005.

MARX, Carl. Capital – Critique of Political Economy. São Paulo: Editora Nova Cultural, 1996. vol. 1.

MAZZEO, Antonio Carlos. State and bourgeoisie in Brazil: origins of bourgeois autocracy. Cortez, 1990.

NEWACK, George. The Law of Uneven and Combined Development of Society, 1968. Available at: https://www.marxists.org/portugues/novack/1968/lei/cap01.htm#ti1>.

SAES, Decio. The slave state in postcolonial Brazil. In: The Formation of the Bourgeois State in Brazil (1888-1891). Rio de Janeiro, Peace and Land, 1990.

TROTSKY, Leon. History of the Russian Revolution. Volume I, São Paulo: Sundermann, 2007.

Notes


[1] Space does not allow addressing the entire range of people who are of fundamental importance in the formation and constitution of Karl Marx's thought. For example, the contributions of Jenny, Eleanor and Laura Marx. Not just as a lifelong companion and beloved daughter, but as commentators, in Jenny's case, from the critical manuscripts to Hegel's Philosophy of Right in the early 40s and all of Marx's productions. Jenny was not only a copyist, but like Eleanor and Laura, they were first rate organizers of the International. For example, Eleanor Marx, journalist, writer, translator, polemicist, militant socialist who, since the age of 16, had already been her father's secretary in the organization of the Party; and Laura, a key player during and after the Paris Commune of 1871.

[2] Marx tries to maintain the critical line, as he did against authoritarianism in Prussia, but the newspaper is closed. Only one edition in February 1844 took effect.

[3] The French edition of Union Générale d'Edition in 1972 he presents the translation of the concept of national economy as “l'Economie politique”. In the German edition of Werke the concept is presented at the beginning of the text as “Die Nationalökonomie” and continues with “Kritik der Nationalökonomie”. The title itself in this same collection, in German, does not show “Kritik der politischen Ökonomie”, but “Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie (Marx/Engels, 1976).

[4] The relationship between the concept of National Economy and Political Economy must be clarified in the final chapter of the presentation of our investigation. However, it is appropriate here to present references for the debate on the meaning that Engels refers to in his critique of political economy. Political Economy, according to Engels, supposedly scientific, intended to explain the wealth of the nation, differing from the mercantilist reading. Still, we can see that the socially endorsed National Economy is the concern of understanding this new perspective criticized by Engels. From the private economy to the social, the public, that is, a supposedly scientific analysis beyond the home, the domestic, the particular and that Engels' critique is full in outline, as this new perspective did not match the idea of ​​social, and rather the instrumentalization of the private, of the particular before the national. This observation by Engels contributes to the understanding of the vicissitudes of the very mode of production of life in the capitalist political economy, as Marx would emphasize decades later.

[5] We refer to Section VII of Chapter XX, “The process of capital accumulation” (MARX: 1996, pg. 197); Chapter XXIII, “The general law of capitalist accumulation” (MARX: 1996, pg. 245) and also Chapter XXIV, “The so-called primitive accumulation” (MARX: 1996, p. 339).

[6] In Brazil, this debate is emblematized based on contributions expressed in the works of Jacob Gorender, “O Escravismo Colonial” (GORENDER, 1978); Décio Saes, “The Slave State in Postcolonial Brazil” (SAES, 1990) and Antônio Carlos Mazzeo who presents us with an important synthesis of this debate from the publication of his master’s thesis by Cortez under the title “State and bourgeoisie in the Brazil, origins of bourgeois autocracy” (MAZZEO, 1990).

[7] Regarding the concept of “unequal and combined”, we refer to the contributions of Leon Trotsky from his work “History of the Russian Revolution”, where the author presents the concept in the opening chapter (TROTSKY, 2007, p. 19 – 29) and also George Novack in “The Law of Uneven and Combined Development of Society” (NOVACK, 1968).

[8] Scientific for Marxian thought is not the same as scientific for part of the Prussian and even German historiographical tradition. When Marx refers to scientific he is postulating rationally oriented and dialectically constructed thinking. Being scientific is not being objective, neutral, as Leopold von Ranke (HOLANDA, 1979) postulated in the “historical school” of Berlin to a certain extent. To think scientifically for Marx is to try to establish the possible connections based on dialectical logic, which does not allow any type of methodological thinking closed in a circuit of investigation that could lead to a universalized and repeatable result in certain circumstances. Scientific means working from the concrete and ideally also developing from this thought concrete, formulations in movements that are constantly verifiable and never permanent and eternal, much less an operation through syllogisms of a formal logic.

[9] For access to a deeper study, in addition to the important 1844 Engels Sketch, we suggest, just as Marx himself had done, the Engelsian work “The situation of the working class in England”, published in Brazil by Boitempo Editorial in 2008 translated by BA Schumann; (ENGELS, 2008).

[10] In 1857, in the Grundrises, Marx starts with money, then, in 1859, publicly starts with the commodity, as he observes that the commodity is the most general form of manifestation of mercantile relations, with the manifestation of money as the complete fetishization of social relations , predominant in capitalist society.

[11] The conception of research sources for Marx and Engels are not only the official documents, sanctioned by the State, as hegemonically prayed the positivist historiographical tradition. There is a plurality about research sources also ahead of their historical time. The plurality of the conception of sources, the way they worked, had only been developed in the historical sciences from the twentieth century, with effect from 1929. Marx, as well as Engels considered sources to be books, newspapers, pamphlets, periodicals, official publications or no. In the case of Engels, the investigative work he carried out in his study on the situation of the working class, the development of field work, highlighting the interlocutions, notably the orality of Irish workers in England, is emblematic. An even more radical conception for its present time with regard to methodology. In Brazil, the publications of the Marx and Engels Collection by Boitempo Editorial present us with a set of sources used, in the case of Engels, providing the reader with details of sources, types, names and year.

[12] A perspective also developed by Marx in his trajectory, but which was enshrined in historiography only in the XNUMXth century with Fernand Braudel. Which reaffirms how Engels was beyond his time, evidently, beyond the academy.

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