Notes: This is excerpted from a 1952 letter to Coretta Scott in Atlanta.
Martin Luther King Jr. was given the book Edward
Bellamy's Looking Backward. His reflections follow.

"I have just completed Bellamy’s Looking Backward. It was both stimulating and fascinating. There can be no doubt about it. Bellamy had the insight of a social prophet as well as the fact finding mind of the social scientist. I welcomed the book because much of its content is in line with my basic ideas.

I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human system it fail victim to the very thing it was revolting against.

Today capitalism's outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. I think Bellamy is right in seeing the gradual decline of capitalism. 

Bellamy fails to see social systems dont die over night. I don't think he gave capitalism long enough time to die. It is probably true that capitalism is on its death bed, but social systems have a way of developing a long and powerful death bed breathing capacity.

Remember, it took feudalism more than 500 years to pass out from its death bed. Capitalism will be in America quite a few more years.

Yet with his basic thesis I would concur. Our economic system is going through a radical change, and certainly this change is needed. I would certainly welcome the day to come when there will be a nationalization of industry.

Let us continue to hope, work, and pray that in the future we will live to see a warless world, a better distribution of wealth, and a brotherhood that transcends race or color. This is the gospel that I will preach to the world."

18 July 1952: To Coretta Scott (King Encyclopedia)