Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto 04/03/2013
Labor theory of Value and surplus Value
Of all Marx’s thought relies on his notion of surplus value: for a capitalist to make a profit “the value of the
wages the laborers are paid must be less than the value of the out put of their labor
Thus laborers receive less than they have warned as such they are exploited
Worse then they go out and buy with their own pitiful wages frivolous commodities produced by the
exploitation of their neighbors. A vicious cycle
Marx says in “the Manifesto” “the laborer lives merely to increase the capital and is allowed to live only
insofar as the interest of the ruling class requires it.”
Exploitation or Opportunity
Also underscoring all of Marx’s thought is his view that capitalism degrades the workers spirit by essentially
using him/her as another “lifeless tool of production”
Consider Marx “Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labor, the work of the
proletarians has lost all individual character and consequently all charm for the workman. He becomes an
appendage of the machine and it is only the most simple most monotonous and most easily required knack,
that is required of him (handout)
A possible objection is who said work should be charming
Another objection is workers buy labor too! We often labor for someone else (a boss) in order to buy labor
(a plumber) to save ourselves labor (fixing the drain ourselves)
Marx Against Locke
Consider Locke on property (you can own yourself no one else can own you. Unclear whether you own your
own labor for Marx)
Now Marx might argue “if people are entitled o all the products of their labour then why should I profit from
the labour of my servants whom I treat like my horse”
The workers should profit no less than the employer. The problem is that there are already entrenched
systems of power/property that make al labor itself a property and the product becomes alien
It would therefore taka revolution to abolish property/ownership rights so then those who were heretofore
the bourgeoisie would become workers and those who were workers would become owners.
Marx’s ultimate goal is a classless society that is a society in which all people become workers and where
the means of production are socially owed, and which all participate equally in making the decisions that
shape their lives
We identify our lives with our labor instead of oscillating between jobs as we choose. Hunt in the morning
fish in the afternoon herd cattle and criticize in the evening without ever becoming a hunter fisherman
shepherd or critic
The “Controversial” Passage and Marx’s “Uncomfortable Legacy” When class distinctions disappear, if proletariat organizes itself by a class and by means of revolution it will
sweep away class distinction as a class. Free development of each and free development of all. Transition
between capitalism and communism, the proletariat will organize as a class and become the ruling class.
The transitional period is always where is doesn’t work because the transitional time is when is stops rulers
want to stay in power.
Does Marxism lead to a Messianic Machiavellianism
In the fervor to fashion this world, a common critique of Marx has been the stirring of followers into an
almost religious zealotry ▯ all for the good of this future utopia
The idea is so powerful that it seems like any means might be justified to achieve it
Marx without Stalin
Another common critique of Marx is whether he misunderstands human nature on a basic level; that he
assumes this final classless society will not, like his initial suggestion “sox the seeds of its own destruction”
As many economists (Von Mises, Hayek, Milton Friedman) have pointed out, especially given the empirical
record of history, its hard to see how socialism would escape fundamental conflicts among various groups
Wouldn’t some government be necessary to officiate? Why trust the over Markey forces which are, at least,
impersonal and unbiased?
“Rerum Novarum” is a “papal encyclical” a letter written to catholic bishops but also with the wider catholic
audience in mind
typically, an encyclical condemns some prevalent form of error, points out dangers which threaten faith or
morals prescribe remedies for evils foreseen already exist
an encyclical does not claim to settle a question (as in papal infallibility) it simple sets the parameter for
A Symbiosis of Capitalism and Labour?
The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that
class is naturally hostile to class.
Each needs the other, capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital mutual agreements result in
the beauty of good order while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity
Lonergan’s Diagnosis on the Problem
Long run you have dilemma eliminate unenlightened freedom of choice or if you want to preserve that
freedom take effective steps to enlighten it. The alternatives are socialism or enlightenment of insufficient
Show difference between selfishness and selfinterestedness. Can have selfinterestedness but you must
have priorities and enlighten others with backward priorities. Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling 04/03/2013
What is existentialism?
Kierkegaard and Nietzsche
One is Christian one is atheist
Existentialism: best expressed by Sartre’s famous slogan “existence precedes essence
This means no general account of what it means to be human can given, since that meaning is decided in
and through existing itself. As Nietzsche will say, life is “selfovercoming”
In contrast to other entities, whose essential properties are fixed by the kind of entities they are, what is
essential to a human being what makes him who he is—is not fixed by his type but by what makes him
himself, who he becomes.
Rocks stay rocks. Humans are rock stars
Ones identity is constituted neither by nature or culture it is constituted by you
The General Existential Dilemma
Does man have a destiny?
“I act without knowing what action is, without having a wish to live, without knowing who I am or if I am” –
“Adolescent entering life, to limit his curiosity as if with blinder? Each determination cuts off an infinity of
possible acts. No one escapes this natural mortification.”
your constituted self
(what you have produced thus far)
“the present moment”
you must now face the anxiety of constituting yourself at the moment of choice…
“unknown future” Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling 04/03/2013
but once you choose, all of the other choices died. All the unlived life is still there you just didn’t choose it.
the existentialist doesn’t want you to regret your decision. So you need to consider every choice you make.
People get it in their head that some avenues are closed off o them from some belief in religion or society,
etc. but those allusions are not true. All the avenues are open.
A new critique of Reason?
You’re no better off than your parents, your on your own. Any generation that thinks they’ve made some
progress on answering the key existential questions they are wrong.
It took Descartes a lifetime to get where he got. But people just start there now without doing the hard work
it took to get to that premise.
Everything in fear and trembling revolves around the story of Abraham.
The title is from Paul, “So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed,, not as in my presence only,
but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling”
Were supposed to be able to regard what Abraham did not as unethical and also admire him.
Kierkegaard: Faith Over Reason (Hegel)
From the preliminary Expectoration:
“It is supposed to be difficult to understand Hegel, but to understand Abraham is a small matter. To go
beyond Hegel is a miraculous achievement, but to go beyond Abraham is the easiest of all.” (33)
Absolute Knowing: “The System”
The absolute includes both the false infinite and the finite you put opposite of it.
You cant stand outside the system when your in it and you cant capture my subjectivity
Anyone who claims they have a deep connection to god can use that faith to justify some great unmoral
Kierkegaard: an AntiHegelian Hegelian? Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling 04/03/2013
Kant uses Moralitate to describe his morality of the universal and necessary.
Hegel uses: Sittlichkeit
Aufhebung: to preserve and destroy
The moral law: (universal and necessary)
= divine command
when the command is in harmony with the moral law then its fine to follow it. in the example of Abraham the
command is not in harmony with the moral law