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Proposing economic determinism even as you deny being an economic determinist

April 17th, 2018 · No Comments

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jappersandjanglers/2018/04/christian-materialism/
This article highlights the way that marxists got themselves into hopeless difficulties on theory and endless controversies that should be irrelevant to the realization of communism.

    According to the materialistic conception of history, the production and reproduction of real life constitutes in the last instance the determining factor of history. Neither Marx nor I ever maintained more.

Why on earth bet the ball park on such a statement? Where’s the proof? What does it even mean? The determining factor of history is going to be a complex and theoretically intractable and can’t be resolved in such one-liners.

One can see how such thinking arose: in the wake of spiritual historicism and/or philosophies of history such as hegel’s the impulse arose in the context of the success of newton’s physics to find some kind of historical driving force: the ‘aha’ moment suggests, ‘economics’. From there we enter the quagmire of who or who isn’t an economic determinist, with the blame falling on engels. The make the statement above and then deny you are some kind of economic determinist befuddles thinking and makes the cadre of marxist confused, dogmatic, and subject to taking marx on faith.

The claims for production/reproduction can’t be verified in practice and are probably false. One implication ended up being that modernity was generated somehow by capitalism as a new epoch beyond feudalism, an even more confused version of the ‘theory’. The factors involved in the rise of the modern include the birth of a new science/physics, the reformation, revolutionary politics, philosophy, art and much else. To pronounce the key to all this as economic, or anything to do with economics is a ‘stretch’, and an extreme one.

We note in passing the suggestion of the eonic effect that we can actually detect an ‘historical driver’ in the way history partitions into a series of transitions that exhibit a sudden high degree of innovation. We should be wary of making a theory of that, but the data shows how the complexity of culture is generated from a complex mix of factors.
The christian view of history is no better and subjects discussions to the metaphysics of god, the muddled legacy of the old testament and a mindset even more confused than economic sociology.

    Let’s take a look at what Friedrich Engels, Marx’s notorious confrere, meant by the term:

    According to the materialistic conception of history, the production and reproduction of real life constitutes in the last instance the determining factor of history. Neither Marx nor I ever maintained more. Now when someone comes along and distorts this to mean that the economic factor is the sole determining factor, he is converting the former proposition into a meaningless, abstract and absurd phrase. The economic situation is the basis but the various factors of the superstructure – the political forms of the class struggles and its results – constitutions, etc., established by victorious classes after hard-won battles – legal forms, and even the reflexes of all these real struggles in the brain of the participants, political, jural, philosophical theories, religious conceptions and their further development into systematic dogmas – all these exercize an influence upon the course of historical struggles, and in many cases determine for the most part their form. There is a reciprocity between all these factors in which, finally, through the endless array of contingencies (i.e., of things and events whose inner connection with one another is so remote, or so incapable of proof, that we may neglect it, regarding it as nonexistent) the economic movement asserts itself as necessary. Were this not the case, the application of the history to any given historical period would be easier than the solution of a simple equation of the first degree.

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jappersandjanglers/2018/04/christian-materialism/#skYoTYbioM8tgLcd.99

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