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Marxism is often referred to as ‘scientific socialism’, as it is based upon a materialist analysis of history and society, looking at social and economic systems in their historical development. This materialist understanding of capitalism underlines why socialism isn’t just a nice idea or an ‘alternative’ to capitalism, but is actually an essential solution to the problems inherent in the capitalist system. Michael Allan of the Glasgow Marxists explains the contradictions of capitalism highlights the potential for a socialist society that is free of such contradictions.