The Conquest of Bread is Peter Kropotkin's famous critique of capitalism, wherein he excoriates that system in favor of anarcho-communism; a form of government he believed could ensure fairness for all.
Kropotkin had an alternate vision of the way society, work, and population should be organized - in The Conquest of Bread, he interweaves his plans for a social revolution with critiques of the prevailing orthodoxy. We receive outlines of how his propositions will eliminate poverty and scarcity - conditions Kropotkin believed were artificially enforced in order to maintain control upon the working populace.
As a philosopher and scientist, Peter Kropotkin abhorred the manner in which abject poverty characterized industrialized society. He also held a great resentment for centralized authority of government and the owners of capital, which he felt acted in concert to undermine the majority of humanity. Kropotkin held that humankind's destiny was one of cooperation rather than competition, and that man could achieve his potential with both collective mutual assistance and a heavy emphasis upon personal and creative freedoms.
The Conquest of Bread has a significant primitivist component, with Kropotkin drawing parallels and praising mankind's early state of being. Institutions such as the church and central government were considered to have undermined humanity's cooperative instincts; Kropotkin notes how other societies base their economies closer to a system of cooperation and function well.
Late in life, Kropotkin would return to his homeland of Russia. Although initially optimistic with the ensuing communist revolution of the era, he quickly became disillusioned with the rapid expansion of bureaucratic state control under the Bolsheviks. He died in 1921, and was accorded a state funeral with the permission of Vladimir Lenin.