After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought - download pdf or read online

By Gabriel Kolko

ISBN-10: 0415395909

ISBN-13: 9780415395908

Does socialism have a destiny on the earth of the twenty-first century? If now not, what's the destiny for revolutionary politics?

This is an important contribution to modern social and political inspiration written through one of many world's major serious historians. Gabriel Kolko ask the tough questions about the place the left can cross in a post-Cold struggle international the place neoliberal regulations seem to have triumphed in either the West and the previous Soviet bloc. In attempting to solution this, he interrogates either the origins and improvement of socialist principles and the modern dynamics of the globalized financial system ruled by means of American army, cultural and political might.

While fending off the enticements of both pessimism or utopianism, Kolko bargains an unique and sensible answer concerning the future of a liberal politics.

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Sample text

14 Marx and Engels never attempted to describe what would then follow. Marx’s system prejudged the nature of the working class’s responses and actions, which in accordance with his abstract scientific pretensions were predictable and invariable. Marx’s workers are not so much homogeneous – though they are that also – but abstract. In no way were they allowed to interfere with the inherently neat logic of his theoretical formula; they were not real human beings. He was unconscious of nationalism’s hold on the mind of the working class, and the way it was a far more enduring and influential opiate of the masses than religion ever was.

Marx’s difficulties were only partly due to the economic theorems he took from the classical economists, and which he predicted would create economic crises. Many of his economic observations were acute even where incomplete, but he failed to anticipate factors that might cause different outcomes than those he forecast. Rival capitalist interests, how political intervention might affect prices and competition, and much else that was decisive in the history of modern capitalism, escaped him. That capitalists would obligingly obey Marx’s economic laws and accept being abolished, along with their privileges and perquisites, without acting in concert with each other or vis-à-vis the state, is the height of naivety – on a par with the workers making revolution according to Marx’s schema.

Marx imposed a Procrustean logic that destroyed the far greater utility that a socialist theory might have played with an open methodology capable of dealing with complex and unpredictable events. But Marxism cannot be faulted for its unique myopia. All determinist philosophies produce the same problems involving fatalism, human passivity, and optimism – and to this extent they are all unscientific and their pretensions are truly utopian. 28 The legacies of socialism: theory Marxism’s special significance emerged from the fact that it alone, among all the ideas articulated after 1850, provided the world’s radical causes and oppressed peoples with a socialist ideology that was a bitter critique of capitalism as well as an exceedingly vague inspiration of a future moral society.

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After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought by Gabriel Kolko

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