Download An Introduction to Karl Marx by Jon Elster PDF

By Jon Elster

A concise and finished advent to Marx's social, political and financial idea for the start scholar. Jon Elster surveys in flip all the major topics of marxist suggestion: technique, alienation, economics, exploitation, ancient materialism, sessions, politics, and beliefs; in a last bankruptcy he assesses 'what resides and what's lifeless within the philosophy of Marx'. The emphasis all through is at the analytical constitution of Marx's arguments and the process is right now sympathetic, undogmatic, and rigorous.

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It will be a life of self- realization. Self-realization. for Marx. can be defined as the full and free actualization and externalization of the powers and abilities of the individual. Consider first the fullness of self-realization. It was one of Marx's more utopian ideas that under communism there will be no more specialized occupations. There will be no more painters. only people who among other things also paint. In a phrase from The German Ideology that has perhaps been taken more seriously than it was intended.

The assembly line achieves a maximum of integration with a minimum of self-realization. Again, however, this might be due to the capitalist organization of industry rather than to the nature of industrial work. ALIENATION: LACK OF AUTONOMY Social action may be understood at many levels. The immediate appearance is that people act freely and rationally to promote their ends, whatever these might be. Capitalism, in particular, has expanded the realm of freedom by making the scope for choice much greater than in any earlier form of society.

The thin slice of freedom left after the operation of these forces now appears much less valuable. Conversely, communism will do away with all processes operating "behind the back" of the individuals. Individuals will finally be autonomous - in full control not only over their actions but over the causes and the consequences of those actions. Individual psychology and social causality will become fully transparent. With respect to the economic study of capitalism, Marx wrote that all science would be superfluous if the essence of things coincided immediately with their appearance.

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