Why Read Marx Today?
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The fall of the Berlin Wall had enormous symbolic resonance, marking the collapse of Marxist politics and economics. Indeed, Marxist regimes have failed miserably, and with them, it seems, all reason to take the writings of Karl Marx seriously.
Jonathan Wolff argues that if we detach Marx the critic of current society from Marx the prophet of some never-to-be-realized worker's paradise, he remains the most impressive critic we have of liberal, capitalist, bourgeois society. The author shows how Marx's main ideas still shed light on wider concerns about culture and society and he guides the reader through Marx's notoriously difficult writings. Wolff also argues that the value of a great thinker does not depend on his or her views being true, but on other features such as originality, insight, and systematic vision. From this perspective, Marx still richly deserves to be read.
Why Read Marx Today? reinstates Marx as an important critic of current society, and not just a figure of historical interest.
from the state, there are many places where this is not so. Third, although we may not have been convinced by Marx’s argument that in a good society we would not need rights against each other, nevertheless we should agree with him that rights guarantee nothing. I earlier used the example of illegal pay differentials to make the point, but I could have equally used examples of racial discrimination, or discrimination on grounds of religion or class. In theory all of these violate rights, but it
First, Marx seems to assume that it is possible to be a universal human being in a particular sense, at least in post-capitalist society. When economic divisions have fallen away, we will be left with fellow-feeling for all human beings. Based on a form of solidarity for all human beings which transcends barriers of race, religion, nationality, and so on, we can develop a co-operative, all-inclusive, society. This is anticipated in some remarks in the Communist Manifesto: The Communists are . . .
white beard. (But didn’t Montesquieu know that God is an Englishman?) His friend remarks that ‘it has been well-said that if triangles had a God it would have three sides’. This, essentially, is Feuerbach’s point. In Feuerbach’s view we human beings have taken the powers that belong to human beings, raised them in thought to an infinite level, and then invented a being outside of us who embodies all these perfections. This God, then, is allknowing, all-powerful, and all good (as distinct from
productivity greatly increased too. His methods involved such things as decent housing, the first infant schools, and a reduced working day ( just ten and a half hours). Just as important were innovations within the factory. Here is the example of the ‘silent monitor’ (replicas of which are sometimes available in the gift shop of the New Lanark Mill, which is now a museum): This consisted of a four-sided piece of wood, about two inches long, and one broad, each side coloured—one side black,
Como, or in a prestigious US Institute of Advanced Research, but on the London Underground: specifically the Northern and Victoria lines, scribbled into little notebooks as the trains juddered between ‘non-station stops’. I can recommend the practice: it is liberating to have a vii preface reason to want the train to be delayed. And it is a want very often satisfied. Several friends read much later versions of the text, and I am particularly grateful to Terrell Carver, Jerry Cohen, Jon Pike,