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Lukacs' Reification and Heller's Theory of Needs in Marx

Uploaded by duprie37 on Nov 12, 2001

1. A little over a decade after the "collapse of Communism", it might appear that Marxist theory has been relegated to little more than an historical or even archeological artefact with little relevance to or influence over an ever encroaching and expanding, globalising capitalism. Socialism "proper", as a state economic model and ideology seems to have been banished to the margins of the world scene. The disastrous results in terms of the dictatorships and totalitarianism that have ensued wherever an attempt has been made to implement a socialist model; the Fukuyaman proclamation of the "end of history" after communism collapsed, this end being equated with the eschatological triumph of free-market capitalism; and the insistence of multinational enterprises and capitalist governments on the expansion of global capital appear to some extent to have marked the death of socialism and marxist critique.

2. However, it cannot be denied that fundamental contradictions remain and are increasing in intensity. Recent events, such as often violent demonstrations whenever and wherever bodies seen to be representative of global capitalism, such as the World Trade Organisation, meet, and the upsurge in anti-western sentiment, especially in Islamic middle-eastern nations, point to a trend that now denies the triumphant mood in the West during the early nineties. Magnus and Cullenberg referred to these already in 1994 in their Introductions to Derrida's Specters of Marx:

Given the difficulties some democratic, free market economies are experiencing - including the plight of the homeless, the lack of adequate health care, environmental degradation, and enormous debt burdens - what sort of model for the future do we have? And what is one to make of the destructive, even violent "nationalisms" which have followed in the wake of the collapse of communism, not to mention virulent forms of ethnocentrism and xenophobia perhaps not seen since Hitler's Germany? What does this imply then for…the global economy and life throughout our shared world? (viii)

Derrida also takes note of the economic contradictions undermining the "end" of history:

And how can one overlook, moreover, the economic war that is raging today both between [the United States and the European Community] and within the European Community? How can one minimize the conflicts of the GATT treaty and all that it represents, which the complex strategies of protectionism recall every day, not to mention the economic war with Japan and all the contradictions at work within the trade between the wealthy countries and...

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Uploaded by:   duprie37

Date:   11/12/2001

Category:   Politics

Length:   13 pages (2,946 words)

Views:   1945

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