Marx and Modernity: Key Readings and Commentary
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In this illuminating and concise collection of readings, Karl Marx emerges as the first theorist to give a comprehensive social view of the birth and development of capitalist modernity that began with the Second Industrial Revolution and still exists today.
Living the rest of his life in the belly of the beast, the great critic of capitalism experienced directly the modern rupture in the ﬁrst nation to undergo the Second Industrial Revolution and the birthplace of liberal individualism. The leading capitalist country, Great Britain, was already experiencing sweeping changes that came late in the nineteenth century or in the early twentieth century to other parts of Europe and North America. Marx was active in working-class movements when the
must always be studied and treated in relation to the history of industry and exchange. . . . Thus it is quite obvious from the start that there exists a materialist connection of men with one another, which is determined by their needs and their mode of production, and which is as old as men themselves. This connection is ever taking on new forms, and thus presents a “history” irrespective of the existence of any political or religious nonsense which would especially hold men together. Only now,
coincide, or rather, there exists no tax which differs from this form of ground rent. Under such circumstances, there need exist no stronger political or economic pressure than that common to all subjects to that state. The state is then the supreme lord. Sovereignty here consists in the ownership of land concentrated on a national scale. But, on the other hand, no private ownership of land exists, although there is both private and common possession and use of land. The speciﬁc economic form, in
the hours of labour, and how 150 Marx ﬁnally its progress, which allows of enormous increase of production in shorter and shorter periods, serves as a means of systematically getting more work done in a shorter time, or of exploiting labour power more intensely. We now turn to the factory as a whole, and that in its most perfect form. . . . Along with the tool, the skill of the workman in handling it passes over to the machine. The capabilities of the tool are emancipated from the restraints
socioeconomic infrastructure eroded, authoritarianism and corruption became rampant, severe environmental and health 178 Globalization and Colonialism problems arose, poverty was widespread, and the gap between poor and rich countries grew wider. Moreover, Communist nations stagnated, and their Third World interventions seemed bankrupt. Thinkers from both Left and Right attacked modernization theory. Following Baran, “dependency theorists” and “world systems theorists” revived Marx’s ideas