The fallacy of an epoch of capitalism…

The issue of Marx’s ‘productive force determinism’ has been discussed and critiqued here many times. Knowledge of world history was still marginal in the nineteenth century even as the archaeological revolution was taking off. As we look backward on a larger picture of world history, the claim that feudalism and capitalism are stages of history weakens:

feudalism is really the decline from the epoch starting in classical antiquity while capitalism is a set of economic processes, and not a stage of history. We might better call it a phase of modernity which itself is far broader and more comprehensive as a social transformation. People saw the rise of the modern as the destruction of feudalism, and in many ways that was the form it took. But the issue of what is modernity is far more complex and it is not the same as the rise of capitalism, which is a process, not a stage of history. It looks like a stage of history! But a closer look shows that the rise of modern capitalism in the period of the industrial revolution was synchronous with the rise of socialism as an idea. In a better world a socialist container for capitalism would have arisen at the onset, and the idea of having to endure a whole epoch of capitalism is misleading (although Marx/Engels originally expected the onset of postcapitalism to be imminent, would that it had been).
Having critiqued Marx’s theory, let’s given him credit for hurling a thunderbolt at capitalism, and prove him right by creating a socialist aftermath to the confusions of capitalism! If Marx’s theories need an update, the fact remains that he really scared the capitalist bandits coming to the fore in the period of the industrial revolution. But we must be wary of abstractions: we must define asap the meaning, content and structure of a socialist society, and that requires looking at the question of democracy, the legal framework of a Commons, the riddle of markets and planning, etc,…

Source: History and Epochal Transitions? problems with ‘stages of production’ theory – Darwiniana

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s