By Jon Elster
A concise and accomplished advent to Marx's social, political and financial proposal for the start scholar. Jon Elster surveys in flip all the major issues of marxist concept: technique, alienation, economics, exploitation, ancient materialism, periods, politics, and beliefs; in a last bankruptcy he assesses 'what resides and what's lifeless within the philosophy of Marx'. The emphasis all through is at the analytical constitution of Marx's arguments and the method is right away sympathetic, undogmatic, and rigorous.
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Additional info for An Introduction to Karl Marx
Self-esteem, in tum, is what provides us with the motivation for going on with the business of living. Although not in itself a source of happiness, it is the basic condition for deriving happiness and satisfaction from other sources. Consumption, to be valuable, presupposes something that is not consumption. Self-esteem can also be derived from self-externalization without self-actualization - from doing or producing something that 45 Alienation others esteem sufficiently to pay for it, even if the work itself is monotonous and boring.
Let us consider, therefore, the view that these are alternative conceptions. We may then define the dialectical method as the view that in order to arrive at the truth of a matter one does not proceed by slowly and patiently refining earlier conceptions, deleting what is wrong, retaining what is correct, and adding what is missing. Rather, one goes from one extreme to another, discarding what is valuable in the old view along with what ought properly to be discarded. In a third stage one may be able to achieve a more balanced view - but only because one has passed through the extremes.
These play two distinct roles in his theory. On the one hand, they enter into his normative assessment of what is wrong with capitalism and, as the other side of that coin, what is desirable about communism. On the other hand, they are part of his explanation of the breakdown of capitalism and the subsequent transition to communism. Clearly, the two roles are related. By and large, the various reasons why capitalism ought to be abolished also explain why it will be abolished. They receive, however, somewhat different emphases in the different parts of Marx's theory.