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Karl Marx on Socialism - Dictionary of Arguments

Höffe I 366
Scientific Socialism/Marx/Höffe: In contrast to Proudhon's socialism, which is debased as "utopian," "petty-bourgeois", and "doctrinaire," Marx is not satisfied with a "utopian interpretation" of the previous national economy. He does indeed adopt Proudhon's guiding goal, the classless society. According to the Communist Party's Manifesto (1848)(1), written together with Engels, the "history of all previous society consists in the history of class struggles," which recalls Hegel's theorem of >master and slave.
Religion/Marx/Höffe: astonishingly, [in the manifesto] (...) the religious opposites that dominate at least modern times are not mentioned.
Höffe I 367
According to the eleventh Feuerbach thesis, Marx is convinced of the mission and at the same time convinced of the power of a theory (...). With its help he believes he can achieve his goal, - establishing a classless society - and bring about the necessary path, the revolutionary transformation of the existing society.
Höffe I 368
VsPolitical Economy: "Capital"(3) [rejects] the previous political economy (economics) (...) and develops an alternative.
Labor: In one point Marx (...) agrees with his liberal opponents: As with Locke, wages should be based on the amount of work done.
MarxVsSmith, Adam/MarxVsRicardo: Marx accuses his opponents of an unhistorical approach and the extrapolation resulting from it, which is in fact unacceptable: According to Marx, the laws of economic development asserted by Smith and Ricardo are not eternally valid laws of nature. They apply only to the modern, namely capitalist form of economy and society. He concedes that the traditional national economy has enlightened the mechanism of production relations: the connection of private property with the separation of labor and capital, with the division of labor, competition, etc.
But he accuses it of a "fatalistic economy" that does not concern itself with the conditions of the origin of production relations and therefore does not recognize the law of their change. He contrasts this with what is later called historical materialism ("histomat").
Commodity/Money: [Marx] begins with the analysis of commodity and money as the material preconditions and formal elements. He concedes to capital the world-historical task of developing all productive forces of labor. On the other hand, however, it prevents what is indispensable for a truly humane economy: that labor or the worker becomes the subject of social processes.


1. K.Marx und F. Engels, Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei, 1848
2. K.Marx und F. Engels, Thesen über Feuerbach, 1845
3. K. Marx Das Kapital Vol. I 1867, Vol. II & II 1885 (= MEW 23-25)


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Marx I
Karl Marx
Das Kapital, Kritik der politische Ökonomie Berlin 1957

Höffe I
Otfried Höffe
Geschichte des politischen Denkens München 2016


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