Looking at the eonic model and then the marxist legacy we can see almost at once the limits of the latter, and its subtle flaws next to its gross oversimplification of world history as economic dynamics. Marx has many useful studies of the question of class in history but at every point his theorizing gets him in trouble. Marx developed a kind of package that must have seemed brilliant for its time but it seems now to be dated and very amateurish. His attempts at theory were inadequate and could just as well be scrapped.
What’s left is an empirical set of studies of world history and these can be useful. But note that everything is cast in the mode of theory rubbish. To point to the facts of class struggle and the working class is highly useful as empirical data. But Marx always turns it into a theory: viz. The working class and class struggle is the engine of history. Not the case. That’s a theory and there are fifty to five hundred things it leaves out.
Here the eonic effect can be useful: it is too complex to create a theory so we remain in the empirical realm with a set of hypotheses about what that data means.
One can only recommend moving beyond Marx’s bad theories and recreating a new framework for the left. It is not really an optional challenge: there is almost no chance that marxism will get a second chance: the world will not stand for a group of marxist idiots who have never looked at the critical literature, some of it arriving before the end of the nineteenth century.
And yet marxists have taken control of the idea of communism, there to befuddle it and leaving behind a dangerous flaw in the whole system: that is the issue of stages of production, the idea that history is moving between economic epochs, e.g. from feudalism to capitalism to communism…Even a cursory glance at world history shows that this isn’t right. Marx’s view of world history was right in the middle of the explosion of archaeology and the discoveries of ancient civilizations. Our view of world history has altered beyond recognition and the economic analysis is too low ball. We need, and the world deserves an upgrade. Without it there is no chance of a postcapitalist transition on the basis of the current left, stuck in the marxist muddle that is almost obscurantist in its ponderous texts turned into biblical revelations of a holy founder.
Marx’s stages of production theory is fatally flawed and left the early bolsheviks confused about what they were doing. The result was the sterile idiocy of state capitalism, gulags, secret police and no economy to speak of. This has seeded a whole slew of false notions about communism with respect to a mess of pottage that isn’t communism at all.
Marx’s refusal to construct a viable exemplar of what was to come after capitalism left a dangerous abstraction festering in an imaginary void given the the claim of historical inevitability in the absence of any detail. Marx is not the only victim of bad theories: the whole economics profession lives in the strangely delusive world of mathematical theory, theories again…
I would say, drop the economic angle as the economic interpretation of history. It is too simplistic. Communism must be vastly more nuanced with all the categories of history. And why on earth waste time on futile debates between idealism and materialism.
The study of the eonic effect can be a useful warning against bad theories: all that is needed is a simple historical empiricism and this starts in the neolithic thence to the onset of the first large civilizations. The period from Sumer to the Axial Age, the Axial Age to the onset of the modern era, and the new era now underway is all one needs in the way of epochs, as the simplest, most agreed on, overall periodization. The complexities of the eonic mode are not needed, and there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of anyone studying it anyway: we can construct all that is needed in a very simple form, as above. We don’t have to make claims about economic theories of history: we need only construct in advance a model that works of what a postcapitalist society would look like.
The marxist theory is like a diving board over a pool with no water: we can see the bolsheviks went off that diving board into a bunch of nothing.
Designing a social system with social capital instead of private capital is not that hard, unless you get stuck in Marx’s grotesque verbiage and theoretical club foot. Let us note that the American Rebs were simple men who had no theory trying to be a science of history. Their minds were clear and free of the theory idiocy that besets marxist. Marx had a good critique of their ‘bourgeois revolution’ but he didn’t improve the situation with a fake science.
Marx’s theory of the stages of production in history should be scrapped. That theory had propaganda value, but at this point the left should simply lay their cards on the table and tell the public what system they propose to construct. Vague references to communism aren’t good enough. We should have had a resolution of the question long ago, but may have spoilt the whole chance.
I recommend ‘marxists’ change their name, adopt the Manifesto of 1848 as their heroic saga and set aside the rest, starting over with post-theories as empirical histories and described processes that are robust and simple to explain and understand.
Our idea of ‘democratic market neo-communism’ although no doubt itself incomplete solves at a glance many of the problems with ‘communism’: it is specific, democratic while resolving the issue of authority, robust economically with a combination of socialist markets and planning, and much else…The Bolsheviks were defeated the moment they invented their secret police. They have been brain dead from the start.