This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...) gests (in his terms) that segregation is an instance of macro behavior which can arise from a wide variety of micro motives. (shrink)
Smith begins with a comprehensive analysis of social theory, presents a defense of Jurgen Habermas' main contribution to social ethics and contrasts Habermas' rational foundation for ethics with the decisionism defended by Max Weber, and ...
In recent publications Paolo Virno and Carlo Vercellone have called attention to Marx’s category of the general intellect in theGrundrisse, and to the unprecedented role its diffusion plays in contemporary capitalism. According to Virno, the flourishing of the general intellect, which Marx thought could only take place within communism, characterises post-Fordist capitalism. Vercellone adds that Marx’s account of the real subsumption of living labour under capital is obsolete in contemporary cognitive capitalism. Both authors regard Marx’s value theory as historically obsolete. (...) I argue that these views rest on a confusion of value and wealth, a neglect of Marx’s account of the role of ‘free gifts’ to capital, an underestimation of the role of the general intellect in the period prior to the rise of post-Fordism/cognitive capitalism, and an underestimation of the restrictions on the diffusion of the general intellect in contemporary capitalism. (shrink)
This article examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demonstrate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states among agents of the same type. This is quite different from Schelling-like behavior and suggests that segregation (...) is an instance of macrobehavior that can arise from a wide variety of micromotives. (shrink)
In his recent work The Myth of Dialectics John Rosenthal presents a forceful polemic against Hegel and Marxists sympathetic to the Hegelian legacy. The methodology Hegel employed, his metaphysical assertions, his rejection of the principles of formal logic, and the political implications of his standpoint, are all fundamentally incompatible with Marx’s perspective, according to Rosenthal. While Rosenthal grants that Marx did make use of Hegelian motifs in his theory of value, even this is not to Hegel’s credit: the very perversity (...) of Hegel’s thought made it useful for the comprehension of the perversity of capital. In this paper I argue that a close and reasonably charitable reading of Hegel’s Logic reveals a quite different picture of his methodology and ontological commitments from that presented by Rosenthal. While there are profound substantive differences between the Hegelian and Marxian 1 perspectives on capitalist society, it is not the case that Hegel’s Logic is homologous with capital. The Logic provides helpful conceptual resources for a critique of capital. In the final section of the paper five areas are briefly sketched in which Hegelian dialectical logic remains of contemporary interest. (shrink)
Free market environmentalists believe that the extension of private property rights and market transactions is sufficient to address environmental difficulties. But there is no invisible hand operating in markets that ensures that environmentally sound practices will be employed just because property rights are in private hands. Also, liability laws and the court systems cannot be relied upon to force polluters to internalize the social costs of pollution. Third, market prices do not provide an objective measure of environmental matters. Finally, there (...) is a right to a livable environment that justifies regulations protecting the public from unreasonable environmental risks. (shrink)
Arash Abazari's Hegel's Ontology of Power is a superb study of the relevance of Hegel's logic to Marx's theory. Hegel is often dismissed by Marxists as an ‘idealist’ denying the reality of the world, as if Hegel were Bishop Berkeley with a German accent.1 Abazari recognizes this is not the case: ‘he logical categories are not self-standing, but shadow, or track, the empirical world’. But the world in its full actuality does not simply consist of the objects we sense or (...) perceive. It is intrinsically intelligible, and its intelligibility can be comprehended only in thought. When it is, the ‘idealist’ thesis of the identity of thought and being holds. Anyone asserting a truth claim implicitly asserts this identity. In so far as Marx asserts that Capital comprehends the capitalist mode of production, he too is an ‘idealist’ in the Hegelian sense of the term. (shrink)
Chris Arthur‟s body of work counts as a very important and original contribution to systematic dialectics, and I have profited immensely from his writings over the years. However we disagree on a number of points. Some have to do with the relatively secondary question of the intellectual relationship between Hegel and Marx; others involve more substantive matters. In his reply to my review of Joseph McCarney‟s Hegel on History Arthur distinguishes three different versions of the thesis that there is a (...) “homology” between the logic of capital (in a Marxian understanding of it) and Hegel‟s “idea.” I shall comment briefly on each and then conclude with a general remark. (shrink)
Hegel conceptualized the capitalist economy as a system of needs, with commodities and money serving as means to human ends. While anticipating Marx’s criticisms of certain tendencies in capitalism, Hegel insisted that higher-order institutions, especially those of the modern state, could put them out of play and establish a reconciliation of universality, particularity, and individuality warranting rational affirmation. Hegel, however, failed to comprehend the emergence of capital as a dominant subject, subordinating human ends under its end. The structural coercion, domination, (...) and exploitation inherent in the capital/wage labor relationship illustrate that point, as does the depoliticization of inherently political matters in capitalist market societies. The reconciliation of universality, particularity, and individuality Hegel endorsed requires a form of socialism incorporating deliberative democracy in local workplaces and communities, conjoined with representative bodies on regional, national, and ultimately global levels. (shrink)
Richard Dien Winfield’s long awaited work, The Just Economy, deserves to be read by anyone interested in social and political philosophy. For those with a special interest in Hegel’s social and political thinking the point can be put even stronger. This work might well be the most significant study of this aspect of Hegel’s thought published in English this decade.
Tony Smith Philosophy, Iowa State University Robert Brenner‟s recent monograph on the economics of global turbulence has renewed interest in one of the most important topics in Marxian thought, the theory of crisis tendencies in capitalism.1 In their introduction to Brenner‟s monograph the editors of The New Left Review praise him as a worthy successor to Marx in the strongest possible terms. In the eyes of a number of critics, however, Brenner is guilty of a major betrayal of Marx‟s legacy. (...) In Michael Lebowitz‟s view, for instance, Brenner should now be seen as a disciple of Adam Smith, not Karl Marx, while Fine, Lapavitsas, and Milonakis refer to Brenner‟s position as “a distinctly non-Marxist perspective.”. (shrink)
In the Marxian theory of capital the term "dialectics" refers primarily to three endeavours: the systematic reconstruction of the essential determinations of capital (systematic dialectics), the reconstruction of the main lines of capitalist development (a species of historical dialectics), and the dialectics of theory and practice. In the first section of this paper I shall discuss some essential features of systematic dialectics in..
This anthology contains some of the more important Marxist thinkers now working on dialectics. As a whole the book is an unusual 'Introduction to Dialectics', a systematic restatement of what it is and how to use it, a survey of most of the main debates in the field, and a good picture of the current state of the art of dialectics.
Extreme monetary policies successfully prevented the “Great Recession” of 2007–2009 from turning into a global depression. However, they did not address the underlying problems in global capitalism. In recent years prominent “insiders” of global capitalism have proposed reforms designed to remedy these defects. I argue that these proposals are inadequate, due in great part to a failure to acknowledge a profound change in the “deep structure” of capitalism. Technological change, which in the past has contributed so much to the dynamism (...) of capitalism development, no longer does so. The need for extreme monetary policies in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007–2009, the failure of these policies, and the lack of plausible alternatives to them, are all symptoms of an underlying disease beyond cure. A path towards a democratic form of socialism must be forged for the simple yet compelling reason Rosa Luxemburg articulated: it is a matter of socialism or barbarism. (shrink)
No one would dispute that it is impossible to understand the intellectual and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries without taking Karl Marx (1818-83) into account. Most believe, however, that Marx‘s legacy was buried once and for all in the rubble of the Berlin Wall. This consensus is mistaken. It would be foolish to assert that Marx anticipated the correct answer to every significant question facing us today. But it would be no less foolish to deny that Marx‘s (...) work presents a powerful challenge to contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
Neoclassical economics remains the leading theoretical alternative to Marxian economics. In this article I shall contrast the accounts of technical change in capitalism proposed by both theories. I shall introduce five criteria relevant to a comparison of competing social theories, and argue that the Marxian perspective on technical change in capitalism is superior on all five counts.
Marx’s 1844 Manuscripts have been known in the West for over half a century now. Since then few Marxist theorists have ignored them. One might think that little new remained to be said. One would be wrong. C. J. Arthur’s major study of the Manuscripts deepens our understanding of them considerably. In doing so, it also illuminates in precise terms Marx’s shifting relationship to his predecessors in the course of his early development.
Like most terms in social theory, the term "conservative" is profoundly ambiguous and contested. In the United States today the word is often applied to those who call for an absolute minimum of government interference in capitalist markets. In another meaning it refers to those who insist that social life should center on the preservation of a community’s traditions and cultural values. There is a deep tension between these two viewpoints. Capitalist markets left to themselves radically destabilize established communities, and (...) so preserving cultural traditions and values requires political intervention in economic life. Given this ineluctable tension it is probably best not to use the same term to refer to both positions. In the present paper I shall refer to the former perspective, whose intellectual roots are found in the "classical liberalism" of John Locke and others, as "neoliberalism." The latter perspective will be referred to as "neoconservatism.". (shrink)
Agricultural biotechnology is a social pursuit, undertaken by social agents within social institutions.1 Any attempt to explore the social dimensions of a profound and complex technological development such as biotechnology is bound to be controversial, and any attempt to formulate an ethical assessment of such a development is bound to be yet more complex and controversial. This surely explains why many choose to ignore these inquiries. But the social dimensions of biotechnology are just as real as viruses, bacteria, enzymes, and (...) cells. To refuse to investigate them with the same seriousness that viruses, bacteria, enzymes and cells are investigated is to place an arbitrary restriction on the scope of rational inquiry. (shrink)
It is certainly possible to overestimate the practical importance of arguments for the normative legitimacy of global capitalism. But normative arguments continue to circulate in the social world, and it would be foolish to think that they do so without significant social effects. As long as ideological defenses of capitalism continue to be produced, there will be a need for ideology critiques.