Separation of city and country – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’ reading of the separation between town and country appeals to the notions of division of labor, as well as class division.

Let us remember that the city is the symbol of the concentration of the population, of the instruments of production, of capital, of pleasures and needs.

The countryside is the symbol of isolation and scattering.

We propose you a short extract:

The greatest division of material and intellectual labor is the separation of the city and the countryside. The opposition between town and country appear with the passage from barbarism to civilization, from tribal organization to the state, from provincialism to the nation, and it persists throughout the history of civilization until our days. – The existence of the city implies at the same time the necessity of the administration, of the police, of the taxes, etc., in a word, the necessity of the communal organization, therefore of the politics in general. It is there that appeared for the first time the division of the population in two great classes, a division which rests directly on the division of the work and the instruments of production. Already, the city is the fact of the concentration, of the population, of the instruments of production, of the capital, of the pleasures and of the needs, while the countryside highlights the opposite fact, the isolation and the scattering.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology, 1845-46

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