Karl Marx
200 years of youth?


Krasilshchikov V.A.

Dr. Sci. (Econ.), Head of Research Group, the Centre for Development and Modernisation Studies of the National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO RAN), Moscow, Russia f1victor@mtu-net.ru

DOI: 10.7868/S013216251805001X
ID of the Article: 7173


For citation:

Krasilshchikov V.A. Karl Marx: 200 years of youth? . Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2018. No 5. P. 3-14




Abstract

The paper is devoted to the 200-th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth. It focuses on three concepts, or ideas, that have been formulated by Marx in various periods of his activity. The first of them concerns the expansion of capitalism across the world. The author, using the Marxian subdivision of capital into capital-property and capital-function, explains why the “spirit of capitalism” – in contrast to the old conception of Weber – appeared as well compatible with the Confucian doctrine in the last third of the XX сentury because of domination of capital-function over capital-property in the process of East Asian modernisation. The second Marx’s concept, which the author considers, deals with his futurology – forecasting of the rise of future society upon the base of automatic machines’ system, displacement of human labour and transformation of scientific knowledge into the direct productive force. As the author argues, this forecasting has been approved by the recent global shift towards a postindustrial, knowledge-based society. However, the reality is far from the old dreams about the “light dawn” of communism. Rather, it is relevant to speak about its “overcast morning” with an increasing uncertainty. Simultaneously, the author draws attention to the contradiction between the role ascribed by Marx to the working class, on the one hand, and the long-range forecast in Grundrisse about the coming of knowledge-based, post-industrial society when the working class disappears together with industrial labour. The third idea of Marx under scrutiny of the author embraces the problem of the lower classes’ conservatism which is considered in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”. The paper underlines a significance of this problem for comprehension of many processes and phenomena in the contemporary world where various disparities are widening and generate the protests against progress.


Keywords
capitalism, communism; conservatism of the lower classes; Engels; Louis Bonaparte; Marx; Orient; social base

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