[Marxism] Do you agree or disagree with the following proposition

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Mon Mar 27 11:58:53 MST 2006

Austin, Andrew 

Production of material life is an extreme abstraction.

CB: Yes, however in this case Marx and Engels use this extreme abstraction
in their fundamental discussion in _The German Ideology_

"... life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation
, clothing and many other things. The first historical act is thus the
_production of material life itself_ (emphasis added -CB) . And indeed this
is an historical act a fundamental condition of all history, which today, as
thousands of years ago, must daily and hourly be fulfilled merely in order
to sustain human life."

  Marx was
concerned with *concrete* historical conditions and relations. 

CB: At this point of the analysis in _The German Ideology_ , Marx is
concerned with "abstract" or general historical conditions and relations,
i.e. biological or physiological conditions that are shared by all
generations and historical periods of the human species, not just by a
concrete or specific historical group of humans.


 These are the roots of history - the dynamics of societal change.  It isn't
production - and empty construct - but *feudalist* production or
*capitalist* production (etc.) of material life that is the focus of the
historical materialist.


CB: Yes, but here I am asking the question why Marx focuses on feudal
_production_ or capitalist _production_ ? Why is the word "production" used
to refer to both feudalism and capitalism ,and why is it _production_ and
not some other area of life , that is determinative of the other "layers" of
the "layercake" , as we used to call it in anthro ?

More information about the Marxism mailing list