Taking a Long and Global View

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Taking a Long and Global View

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Title: Taking a Long and Global View
Author: Ougaard, Morten
Abstract: Marx’s body of theory can be divided into four interconnected elements. One is the economic theory of capitalism, as presented in Das Kapital, a theory whose relevance keeps being re-affirmed, especially in times of crisis. This relevance is due, inter alia, to the theory’s account of recurrent crises and large scale unemployment, the constant drive to concentration and centralization of capital, the compulsory drive towards labour- and cost-cutting technological innovation, and the tendency towards growing inequality. The second element has become known as historical materialism, Marx’s outline of a program for research and theory-building on human society’s development and change. This program has been developed and adapted in various ways and has suffered a rather mixed fortune of marginalization and occasional fashionableness in academia, along with intense internal theoretical debates, but it remains productive within the social sciences and history. The third element is the idea that capitalism is a progressive mode of production that eventually will build the basis for a new and better society, which will be socialist and eventually communist in the sense of a society where ‘the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all’. And the fourth element is the idea that the transition to this new and better society will take place through a revolution led by the industrial working class. These elements combine outstanding and path-breaking social science scholarship with a strong political commitment and a vision for a dramatically better, more free and just and more humane society. Undoubtedly this combination is an important reason why Marx’s ideas have kept and keep renewing their power of attraction.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/9546
Date: 2017-11-23
Notes: Paper presented at the Capitalism Forever – Or is there any Utopian Potential Left? : Friedrich Ebert Stiftung’s Marx 200 Years Conference. 8 September 2017, London, Storbritannien

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