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10 SEPTEMBER 2005

Historical Materialism: a critical resources for the de-reification of capitalism

The materialist conception of history "retains its relevance to contemporary social life insofar as it offers critical resources for the de–reification of capitalism and its various forms of appearance. It reminds us that commodification of social life, and especially commodification of labour, are not natural, necessary, universal or absolute; nor, therefore, is the separation of the political from the economic which is entailed in the capitalist wage relation. Historical materialist critiques imply that capitalism's abstraction of politics from the economy and the naturalisation of a civil society of abstract individuals are historical conditions which are open to question and hence potentially to transformation. This transformation would necessarily entail (but not necessarily be limited to) the re–politicisation and democratisation of the economy and of civil society, such that they cease to be pseudo–objective and apparently natural conditions which confront isolated individuals as an ineluctable external "reality". Rather, they would become sites for – and objects of – reflective dialogue and contestation, mutable aspects of a broad process of social self–determination, explicitly political."

(M. Scott Solomon and Mark Rupert, Syracuse University)

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TAGS

abstractionsbusinesscapital accumulationcapitalismcommodificationcontestationdialogueeconomyfirm • historical materialism • Mark Rupert • Michael Scott Solomon • mutableproductionreflective process
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