Foundations of Post-capitalist Society in Marx's Capital
AbstractFrom a very young age Karl Marx had grasped that an apriori construction of a future society is a useless endeavor, which would bring no other result than dogmatic thinking and the nowhere-land of a nirvana. In 1843, in a letter to Arnold Ruge, Marx wrote that instead of constructing the future our task should be "ruthless critique of all that exists" (CW 3, 142). From Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right to The Critique of Political Economy, (the subtitle of Capital), both in theory and practice critique was always the foundation of Marx's thinking. But Marx's means of critique is a subject that has generated different interpretations among post-Marx-Marxists. The burden of this essay is to prove the claim that Marx's Capital in its critique of the bourgeois science of political economy not only transcends (aufhebung) it, but also projects the theoretical foundation of post-capitalist society. After the publication of Capital, Marx says the positivist circles were attacking him because he was "on the one hand treating economics metaphysically, and, on the other hand--imagine this! -- confining myself merely to the critical analysis of the actual facts, instead of writing recipes (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future" (BF, 99). The truth is Capital is such a different and innovative work that its publication (1867) generated much chaos among economists. Their contradictory reaction demonstrated that one cannot measure such a work with empirical methods of classical political economy. How can one call such a work, at one and the same time, "inductive" and "analytic", both "realistic" and "metaphysical," both "idealistic" and "materialistic"? Marx asks: how can one criticize Capital for on the hand lacking freedom in material and empirical matters and, on the other hand, being Hegelian sophistry?
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