Hegel and Marx After the Fall of Communism (Political Philosophy Now)

Hegel and Marx After the Fall of Communism (Political Philosophy Now)

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 1783160721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The collapse of the Soviet Empire led many to think that communism and perhaps socialism were no longer relevant to the modern world. Hegel and Marx After the Fall of Communism presents a balanced discussion of the validity of the arguments of two of the most important political philosophers of all time, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. David MacGregor reinterprets Hegel and Marx’s philosophies, setting out key events in their lives against a backdrop of global historical events. In a new afterword, MacGregor brings his study up to date, examining Russia’s revival as a world power under Vladimir Putin as well as China’s ambitious development efforts.

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possibly account for the amazing success of Victorian capitalism.13 None of his finely constructed models offered an outcome that conformed with hopes for a ground-up transformation of capitalist society. Yet under Hegel’s influence, Marx drafted an exploratory blueprint of the new society in the first volume of Capital. Perhaps this explains why Marx, in the decade following its publication in 1867, gave priority to new editions of volume 1 of Capital rather than to completing the other two

spirit of reason that could provide the sure foundation for dramatic social and political change. Opposition to this ideal eventually crushed Hölderlin, as we shall see, and it forced Hegel to turn from active politics to a philosophical vision of the future based firmly on the realities of the present. This vision would include a solution to the greatest problem thrown up by civil society – poverty. ‘When, in countries that are called civilized’, writes Paine, ‘we see age going to the workhouse

that a socialist revolution, with its attendant dangers of terror and dictatorship, was unnecessary to achieve liberation. The working class could be elevated to full membership in the political community through legal protection of their individual rights, social legislation that alleviated their competitive disadvantage in the marketplace, and the creation of ‘free corporations’ that would form a bridge from the particular to the universal will.42 Gans shared Hegel’s view that poverty had

state. Management in the typical modern corporation is answerable only to the stockholders. The managers of Hegel’s corporation must keep in mind the interests of the workers, and those of the communities within which they operate. The democratic corporation Hegel saw poverty as an ethical as well as an economic dilemma endemic to bourgeois society. Poverty strips the individual of the chance to enjoy the rights and freedoms of civil society, and demeans him or her in the eyes of others.

the modern US democratic system, notes Howard Kainz,80 ‘ “control” over the federal government by average American working people is often reduced to perilous choices, every few years, between congressional or presidential candidates neither of whom is thought satisfactory’. The atomization of democracy in the late twentieth century has corrupted politics and alienated citizens from their own political institutions, as Hegel might have predicted. ‘The reflective spirit of our times, this

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