This is 12 hours of listening to the itemizing of the social ills of England, Scotland, and Ireland over a ten year period. For reference, Dickens work, A Christmas Carol, was written a year earlier in 1844. The discussion covers a large amount of territory, beginning with the long, hard work in the factories, the accidents and diseases, and ailments such as asthma from inhaling metal dust. The pay amounts to barely enough to cover an existence, which is of the most horrid sort, given that masses of workers are thrown into common housing. The result is stunted growth, whether it be physical or mental. Added to this are the social problems caused by women and children working, destroying family relations, encouraging prostitution and leading to illegitimacy and the spread of STDs. It is a painful bit of listening, and no doubt there is much truth to it. Compounding the problems were about a million Irish immigrants looking for work, but we must note that the Irish Potato Famine doesn't occur until 1845.
Mixed in with this longwinded description is a large quantity of vitriol directed at the Bourgeoisie and Christianity. More specifically, he was hostile to capitalism, Christian education and monogamy. One argument that caught my attention was his rejection of the possibility of Bourgeois charity. His argument is that if the Bourgeois hadn't cheated the Proletariat, they should have had no money to give, while also noting the Proletariat are more generous among themselves and the Bourgeois charity is negligible.
My response to all this is that yes, there were a lot of horrors in the early stages of industrialism, which were largely rectified over the decades. We cannot say the same for his communist children, however, as these horrors all live on today in Communist countries. Yes, the Bourgeois can be unfeeling, but communist leaders have been even more brutal and callous over time than the Bourgeois. And besides this, there have always been poor in every country and every age, thus, this work had shock value only to the naive. After all this fist shaking at the Bourgeoisie, I am finally wanting to ask him in return, "What about you, Fred? What do you propose? After you burn everything down, what would you put in its place?".