[Marxism] Our Place in the World

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Oct 29 17:09:25 MDT 2013

In Part 1, I argued that economics is neither an objective science nor 
capable of providing a lasting solution to the contradictions of the 
capitalist economy and society. As a discipline it has emerged to 
maintain and justify the capitalist system and it will wither away with 
its downfall.  Also, I argued that Karl Marx’s critique of political 
economy (“economics” of his time) and the capitalist system is a 
specific application of his theory of history, historical materialism, 
that aims to serve self-activity and self-organization of working people 
with the logic of transcending the capitalist system in the direction of 
developing a society of freely Associated Producers, a socialist 
society.  Thus, Marx’s theory replaces the bourgeois notion of Homo 
economicus (Economic Man) with the ideal of socialist women and men. 
This theoretical transcendence was made possible with a shift of 
theoretical paradigm from one serving the interests of the capitalist 
class to one for emancipation of humanity through the direct action of 
working people.

Now, I proceed to argue that the current crisis of society and nature is 
in fact a single crisis, the crisis of civilization built on the 
foundation of alienation from and exploitation of nature. Therefore, its 
resolution will require a shift from the prevailing anthropocentric 
worldview to an ecocentric, indeed a universe-centric view of human 
society and its relation to nature. This new paradigm provides a 
conceptual underpinnings for an ecological movement that would also be 
socialist because the present-day civilization is largely capitalist. I 
will then consider whether and how Marx’s theory aids the development of 
an ecological socialist movement to build a post-capitalist society 
where humanity would live in harmony amongst ourselves and with the rest 
of nature.


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