On Some Fundamental Issues in 21st Century Political Economy
Chapter 9: Karl Marx on Capital and Character
9. 9.1 Karl Marx on capital and character INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS For Marx, capitalism, or rather the capitalist mode of production, has its own laws of motion. From an Aristotelian point of view, it has a nature. That is, it actualizes itself, and develops its potentialities. Then it becomes more or less unnatural, or corrupted. It is overthrown, it dies. Marx assumes that he can understand capitalism’s nature, and grasp its inner essence and working. Hence, he believes he can see not only where it is, but where it is going, where it is developing, how it is actualizing itself and will eventually supersede itself.1 Just as one who knows a kitten knows, barring an unfortunate accident to the kitty, that it will develop into a cat, Marx thinks he can foresee the future development of the capitalist mode of production.2 So the subject matter of Marx’s work is capitalism. This is pretty much the same as Smith and modern economic thought (Smith, of course, terming his society as commercial society). However, Marx wants to help overthrow capitalism, or at least hasten its demise, since that will, of course, happen anyway. According to Marx, he is dealing with ‘the natural laws of capitalist production. It is a question of these laws themselves, of these tendencies winning their way through and working themselves out with iron necessity’ (‘Preface to the 1st Edition’: 91). Nonetheless, Even when a society has begun to track down the natural laws of its movement – and it is...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.