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Beyond historical materialism and the epochs of economy//Cohen and Karl Marx’s Theory of History

August 7th, 2016 · No Comments

We linked to Cohen yesterday without getting around to comment.

Source: Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marxism is the repository of a large number of brilliant classics that have been rendered irrelevant by the transits of the left and Cohen’s fascinating work is one of these (along with Luckacs’ classic, et al.)
In a field where exotic dialectical twists of reasoning take marxist confusions in one direction analytical marxism has taken them in another. Let’s be extremely protective of the classic canon but ‘potshot’ out of all of it for the nonce to imbibe free oxygen in a less theoretical environment. In a way Cohen brought historical materialism to a kind of finished perfection after which we can simply forget the whole thing.

In any case my own perspective open to possible theoretical confusions of its own is actually a non-theory that uses simple historical chronology and a perspective on history/evolution to create a world history that demands only descriptive economics as its mode. We apply praxis rather than theory, and we are not bound by any theory of historical materialism to any form of ‘inevitable’ capitalism as a stage of history. We are free NOW to move beyond a capitalist framework in one and the same epoch shared by both capitalism and a potential postcapitalism, as communism. It is much better to do it this way, and the whole theory of epochs is flawed…

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