The second theoretical polemics about the problem of accumulation

was also started by current events. If the first English crisis and its

attendant misery of the working class had stimulated Sismondi’s

opposition against the classical school, it was the revolutionary

working-class movement arisen since which, almost twenty-five years

later, provided the incentive for Rodbertus’ critique of capitalist pro-

duction. The risings of the Lyons silk weavers and the Chartist move-

ment in England were vastly different from the shadowy spectres raised

by the first crisis, and the ears of the bourgeoisie were made to ring

with their criticism of the most wonderful of all forms of society. The

first socio-economic work of Rodbertus, probably written for the

Augsburger Allgemeine Zeitung in the late thirties but not published by that

paper, bears the significant title, The Demands of the Working Classes,


begins as follows:

‘What do the working classes want? Will the others be able to keep it

from them? Will what they want be the grave of modern civilisation?

Thoughtful people have long realised that a time must come when

history would put this question with great urgency. Now, the man