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The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (German: Ă–konomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844), also referred to as the Paris Manuscripts[1] (Pariser Manuskripte) or as the 1844 Manuscripts,[1] are a series of notes written between April and August 1844 by Karl Marx, published posthumously in 1932.

The notebooks were compiled in their original German in the Soviet Union by researchers at Moscow's Marx–Engels–Lenin Institute, decades after Marx's lifetime. They were first released in Berlin in 1932, and in 1933, there followed a republication of this work in the Soviet Union (Moscow-Leningrad), also in German. Their publication greatly altered the reception of Marx by situating his work within a theoretical framework that had until then been unavailable to his followers.[2]

Marx discusses th

Marx discusses three aspects of his conception of communism in depth: its historical bases, its social character and its regard for the individual.[50]

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Marx firstly draws a distinction between his own communism and other "underdeveloped" forms of communism. He cites the communism of Cabet and Villegardelle as examples of communism that justify themselves by appealing to historical forms of community that were opposed to private property.[51] Where this communism appeals to isolated aspects or epochs of past history, Marx's communism, on the other hand, is based in the "entire movement of history;"[49] it finds "both its empirical and its theoretical basis in the movement of private property, or to be more exact, of the economy."[49] The most basic alienation of human life is expressed in the existence of private property, and this alienation occurs in man's real life—the economic sphere.[51] Religious alienation occurs only in man's consciousness.[51] The overcoming of private property will thus be the overcoming of all other alienations: religion, the family, the state, etc.[51]

Marx secondly claims that the relation of man to himself, to other men and to what he produces in an unalienated situation shows that it is the social character of labor that is basic.[52] Marx believes that there is a reciprocal relationship between man and society: society produces man and is produced by him.[52] Just as there is a reciprocal relationship between man and society, so is there between man and nature: "society is therefore the perfected unity in essence of man with nature, the true resurrection of nature, the realized naturalism of man and the realized humanism of nature."[53] Man's essential capacities are produced in social intercourse: when working in isolation, he performs a social act by virtue of being human; even thinking, which uses language, is a social activity.[52]

This emphasis on the social aspects of man's being does not destroy man's individuality:[52] "Man, however much he may therefore be a particular individual - and it is just this particularity which he makes him an individual and a real individual communal being - is just as much the totality, the ideal totality, the subjective experience of thought and experienced society for itself."[54]

The rest of Marx's third manuscript explicates his conception of the total, all-sided, unalienated man.[55] Marx believes the supersession of private property will be a total liberation of all human faculties: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking, observing, feeling, desiring, acting and loving will all become means of appropriating reality.[55] It is difficult for alienated man to imagine this, as private property has conditioned men so that they can only imagine an object to be theirs when they actually use it.[55] Even then, the object is only employed as a means of sustaining life, which is understood as consisting of labor and the creation of capital.[55] Marx believes that all physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by a single alienation - that of having.[55] The "supersession of private property", Marx claims, "is therefore the complete emancipation of all human senses and attributes."[56] Need or satisfaction will lose their egoistic nature, and nature will lose its mere utility "in the sense that its use has become human use".[56] When man is no longer lost in an object, the manner in which his faculties appropriate the object becomes totally different.[57] The object that unalienated man appropriates corresponds to his nature. A starving man can only appreciate food in a purely animal way, and a dealer in minerals sees only value, and not beauty, in his wares. The transcendence of private property will liberate man's faculties to become human faculties.[57] A full and harmonious development of man's cultural potentialities will arise, where abstract intellectual oppositions—"subjectivism and objectivism, spiritualism and materialism, activity and passivity"[58]—will disappear.[57] "The practical energy of man"[58] will instead tackle the real problems of life.[57]

In a passage that anticipates Marx's later detailed accounts of historical materialism, Marx next claims that it is the history of industry—rather than that of religion, politics and art—that reveals man's essential faculties.[59] Industry reveals man's capabilities and psychology and is thus the basis for any science of man. The immense growth of industry has allowed natural science to transform the life of man.[59] Just as Marx earlier established a reciprocal relationship between man and nature, so does he believe that natural science will one day include the science of man and the science of man will include natural science.[60] Marx believes that human sense-experience, as described by Feuerbach, can form the basis of a single all-embracing science.[60]

The section of the Manuscripts that follows Marx's discussion of communism concerns his critique of Hegel.[61] Marx deems it necessary to discuss the Hegelian dialectic because Hegel has grasped the essence of man's labor in a manner that was hidden from the classical economists.[62] Despite his abstract and mental understanding of labor, Hegel has correctly discerned that labor is the creator of value.[61] The structure of Hegel's philosophy accurately reflects the real economic alienation of man in his work process.[61] Marx believes Hegel has made very real discoveries but has "mystified" them. He argues that Feuerbach is the only critic who has a constructive attitude to Hegel. However, he also uses Hegel to illuminate weaknesses in Feuerbach's approach.[63]

The greatness of Hegel's dialectic lies in its view of alienation as a necessary stage in mankind's evolution:[64] humanity creates itself by a process of alienation alternating with the transcendence of that alienation.The greatness of Hegel's dialectic lies in its view of alienation as a necessary stage in mankind's evolution:[64] humanity creates itself by a process of alienation alternating with the transcendence of that alienation.[11] Hegel sees labor as an alienating process that realizes the essence of man: man externalizes his essential powers in an objectified state, and then assimilates them back into him from outside.[11] Hegel understands that the objects which appear to order men's lives - their religion, their wealth - in fact belong to man and are the product of essential human capacities.[64] Nonetheless, Marx criticizes Hegel for equating labor with spiritual activity and alienation with objectivity.[11] Marx believes Hegel's mistake is to make entities that belong objectively and sensuously to man into mental entities.[65] For Hegel, the transcendence of alienation is the transcendence of the object - its reabsorption into the spiritual nature of man.[11] In Hegel's system, the appropriation of alien things is only an abstract appropriation, which takes place in the realm of consciousness. While man suffers from economic and political alienation, it is only the thought of economics and politics that interests Hegel.[65] Because Man's integration with nature takes place on a spiritual level, Marx views this integration an abstraction and an illusion.[11]

Marx holds that Feuerbach is the only one of Hegel's disciples who has truly conquered the master's philosophy.[63] Feuerbach has succeeded in showing that Hegel, having started from the abstract, infinite point of view of religion and theology, then superseded this with the finite and particular attitude of philosophy, only to then supersede this attitude with a restoration of the abstraction typical of theology. Feuerbach sees this final stage as a regression, and Marx agrees.[66]

Hegel believes that reality is Spirit realizing itself, and that alienation consists in men's failure to understand that their environment and their culture are emanations of Spirit. Spirit's existence is constituted only in and through its own productive activity. In the process of realizing itself, Spirit produces a world that it initially believes is external, but gradually comes to understand is its own production. The aim of history is freedom, and freedom consists in men's becoming fully self-conscious.[67]

Marx rejects Hegel's notion of Spirit, believing that man's mental activities - his ideas - are by themselves insufficient to explain social and cultural change.[67] Marx comments that while Hegel talks as though human nature is only one attribute of self-consciousness, in reality self-consciousness is only one attribute of human nature.[68] Hegel believes that man can be equated with self-consciousness, since self-consciousness has only itself for an object.[67] What is more, Hegel views alienation as constituted by objectivity and the overcoming of alienation as primarily the overcoming of objectivity. Against this, Marx argues that if man were merely self-consciousness then he could only establish outside himself abstract objects that have no independence via-a-vis his self-consciousness.[68] If all alienation is the alienation of self-consciousness, then actual alienation - alienation in relation to natural objects - is only apparent.[68]

Marx instead sees man as an objective, natural being who has real natural objects that correspond to his nature.[68] Marx calls his view "naturalism" and "humanism". He distinguishes this view from idealism and materialism, yet claims it unifies what is essentially true in both.[69]

In the concluding portions of the Manuscripts, Marx reflects on the morality of private property and the meaning of money. This discussion is within the same framework as the first section on wages, rent and profit. Marx claims that private property artificially creates needs in order to bring men into dependence.[70] As men and their needs are at the mercy of the market, poverty increases and men's living conditions become worse than those of animals. In line with this, political economy preaches utter asceticism and reduces the needs of the worker to the miserable necessities of life.[70] Political economy has its own private laws, since alienation separates activities into different spheres, often with different and contradictory norms.[71] He mentions that classical economists wish to limit the population and think even people a luxury.[72] He then returns to the topic of communism. He claims that the situation in England provides a surer basis for the transcendence of alienation than that in Germany or France: the form of alienation in England is based in practical need, whereas German communism is based on an attempt to establish universal self-consciousness and the equality of French communism has merely a political foundation.[72]

Marx returns to the dehumanizing effects of capital in the second half of this section.[72] He discusses the declining rate of interest and the abolition of land rent, as well as the question of the division of labor.[72] He discusses the declining rate of interest and the abolition of land rent, as well as the question of the division of labor.[73] In the next section on money, Marx quotes Shakespeare and Goethe to argue that money is the ruin of society. Since money could purchase anything, it could remedy all deficiencies. Marx believes that in a society where everything would have a definite, human value, only love could be exchanged for love, etc.[74]

The Manuscripts were published for the first time in Moscow in 1932, as part of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe edition.[75] They were edited by David Ryazanov under whom György Lukács worked in deciphering them. Lukács would later claim that this experience transformed his interpretation of Marxism permanently.[76] On publication, their importance was recognized by Herbert Marcuse and Henri Lefebvre: Marcuse claimed that the Manuscripts demonstrated the philosophical foundations of Marxism, putting "the entire theory of 'scientific socialism' on a new footing";[77] Lefebvre, with Norbert Guterman, was the first to translate the Manuscripts into a foreign language, publishing a French edition in 1933.[78] Lefebvre's Dialectical Materialism, written in 1934-5, advanced a reconstruction of Marx's entire body of work in the light of the Manuscripts.[79] However, copies of the published volumes of the Manuscripts subsequently became difficult to locate, as the Marx–Engels-Gesamtausgabe project was effectively cancelled shortly afterward.[75]

The text became more widely disseminated after the Second World War, with satisfactory editions appearing in English only in 1956, and in French in 1962.[75] In this period, <

The text became more widely disseminated after the Second World War, with satisfactory editions appearing in English only in 1956, and in French in 1962.[75] In this period, Galvano Della Volpe was the first to translate and discuss the Manuscripts in Italian, propounding an interpretation that differed greatly from that of Lukács, Marcuse and Lefebvre and that inspired its own school of thought.[79] Many Catholic writers, particularly those in France, took interest in the Manuscripts at this time.[16] The existential Marxism of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Jean-Paul Sartre also drew heavily from the Manuscripts.[79] In the USA, the Manuscripts were embraced enthusiastically in the late fifties and early sixties by the intellectual current subsequently known as the New Left,[80] with a volume containing an introduction by Erich Fromm published in 1961.[81]

Since the terminology of alienation does not appear in any prominent manner in Marx's magnum opus Capital, the publication of the Manuscripts caused great debate regarding the relationship of the "Young Marx" to the "Mature Marx".[82] The Manuscripts were the most important reference for "Marxist humanism",[1] which saw continuity between their Hegelian philosophical humanism and the economic theory of Marx's later work.[83] Conversely, the Soviet Union largely ignored the Manuscripts, believing them to belong to Marx's "early writings", which expound a line of thought that had led him nowhere.[4] The structural Marxism of Louis Althusser inherited the Soviet Union's harsh verdict of Marx's early writings.[84] Althusser believed there was a "break" in Marx's development[1] - a break that divides Marx's thought into an "ideological" period before 1845, and a scientific period after.[85] Others who ascribed a break to Marx idealized the Manuscripts and believed the young Marx to be the real Marx.[86] Marxist economist Ernest Mandel distinguishes three different schools of thought with respect to this controversy:[87]

(1) The position of those who try to deny that there is any difference between the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts and Capital, and find the essentials of the theses of Capital already present in the Manuscripts.

(2) The position of those who c

(2) The position of those who consider that compared to the Marx of Capital, the Marx of the Manuscripts sets out in a more "total" and "integral" way the problem of alienated labor, especially by giving an ethical, anthropological, and even philosophical dimension to the idea; these people either contrast the two Marxs or else "re-evaluate" Capital in the light of the Manuscripts.

(3) The position of those who consider that the conceptions of the young Marx of the Manuscripts on alienated labor not only contradict the economic analysis of Capital but were an obstacle that made it difficult for the young Marx to accept the labor theory of value. For the extreme representatives of this school, the concept of alienation is a "pre-Marxist" concept which Marx had to overcome before he could arrive at a scientific analysis of capitalist economy.

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