Progress

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I got this one wrong: source


Let me start with a quote and ask you to contemplate the source:

The modern economy cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production.... Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish our epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations…are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air; all that is holy is profaned; and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life...

Who said that? Paul Krugman? No. Joe Stiglitz. Wrong, again. Perhaps Justin Wede, Pete Dutro, or one of the other leading lights in the Occupy Wall Street movement? Not them, either.

Rather, the authors of this passage are none other than Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. I amended the passage just slightly, removing the word "bourgeoisie" whenever it appeared in the text so as to disguise its origin.

The remarkable thing is how contemporary the passage sounds otherwise, though it was written more than 160 years ago.

The instruments of production are indeed being revolutionized today. That revolution is undoubtedly causing an uninterrupted disturbance of all our social conditions. And all that we once took to be solid seems to be melting.

In that sense, 2012 doesn't appear very different from 1848. History doesn't repeat itself exactly, of course, but it does have a nasty habit of rhyming. Much has been said of the "new normal." I believe it would historically be more accurate to say that the industrialized world is now experiencing a condition better described as post-normal.

As it was when Marx and Engels penned their Communist Manifesto (the quoted passage is from the first chapter), the radical disturbance of our social fabric today is due to something positive — globalization, in our case, which is but a continuation, on a vastly more complex scale, of the constant revolutionizing of the instruments of production of which Marx and Engels wrote.

That paragraph could be printed and offered to many a right wing pontificator and then asked agree___ or disagee___? After they agree, congratulate them for being a Marxist.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Comments

The left today is anti progress. That's kind of odd when they call themselves "progressive". They want us to roll back our stndard of living. Sometimes I think they won't be satisfied until we go back to a time before man stood upright.

Tahuyaman's picture
Tahuyaman
Joined:
Aug. 16, 2012 2:39 pm
Quote Tahuyaman:The left today is anti progress. That's kind of odd when they call themselves "progressive". They want us to roll back our stndard of living. Sometimes I think they won't be satisfied until we go back to a time before man stood upright.

That's funny considering that right-wing Conservatives try to pass legislation that says there never was a time before Man stood upright.

It's like their Christian version of Sharia law.

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
Joined:
Mar. 19, 2012 2:04 pm
Quote douglaslee:

I got this one wrong: source


Let me start with a quote and ask you to contemplate the source:

The modern economy cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production.... Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish our epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations…are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air; all that is holy is profaned; and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life...

Who said that? Paul Krugman? No. Joe Stiglitz. Wrong, again. Perhaps Justin Wede, Pete Dutro, or one of the other leading lights in the Occupy Wall Street movement? Not them, either.

Rather, the authors of this passage are none other than Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. I amended the passage just slightly, removing the word "bourgeoisie" whenever it appeared in the text so as to disguise its origin.

The remarkable thing is how contemporary the passage sounds otherwise, though it was written more than 160 years ago.

The instruments of production are indeed being revolutionized today. That revolution is undoubtedly causing an uninterrupted disturbance of all our social conditions. And all that we once took to be solid seems to be melting.

In that sense, 2012 doesn't appear very different from 1848. History doesn't repeat itself exactly, of course, but it does have a nasty habit of rhyming. Much has been said of the "new normal." I believe it would historically be more accurate to say that the industrialized world is now experiencing a condition better described as post-normal.

As it was when Marx and Engels penned their Communist Manifesto (the quoted passage is from the first chapter), the radical disturbance of our social fabric today is due to something positive — globalization, in our case, which is but a continuation, on a vastly more complex scale, of the constant revolutionizing of the instruments of production of which Marx and Engels wrote.

That paragraph could be printed and offered to many a right wing pontificator and then asked agree___ or disagee___? After they agree, congratulate them for being a Marxist.

Was that passage just before the one were he said the state should own and control everything including the citizens of the country?

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workingman
Joined:
Mar. 20, 2012 8:13 am

Was that passage just before the one were he said the state should own and control everything including the citizens of the country?

They never called for the state to own everything. That is what Lenin did. Lenin was a tyrannical dictator who used the language of Marx to mask his crimes.

Marx called for the workers to directly own their businesses, and not have large corporations own the means of production.

The exception for state ownership being large, monopolistic enterprises, like railroads, mines, shipping, ports/ docks, and postal systems. Marx wrote before public utilities for water, gas and electric existed, so he'd have probably included them.

He opposed serfdom, which still existed when he was writing, and saw that the best way to motivate people was to give them the fruits of their own labor, and not allow some fatcat capitalist enjoy most of the wealth a man creates because he is a slave, or a serf, or a wage slave.


Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm
Quote JTaylor:
Quote Tahuyaman:The left today is anti progress. That's kind of odd when they call themselves "progressive". They want us to roll back our stndard of living. Sometimes I think they won't be satisfied until we go back to a time before man stood upright.

That's funny considering that right-wing Conservatives try to pass legislation that says there never was a time before Man stood upright.

It's like their Christian version of Sharia law.

You'll have to show me a copy of that legislation,

Tahuyaman's picture
Tahuyaman
Joined:
Aug. 16, 2012 2:39 pm
Quote Tahuyaman:You'll have to show me a copy of that legislation.

Why does everything have to be spoon fed to Conservatives? Why can't you do any research for yourselves? Someone always has to hold your hands. Priests, politicians, etc. Someone has to be in charge of you and tell you what to think. The legislation in question is partly to blame.

I gave you a link to an article about one of many right-wing laws being brought up that try to teach religious dogma in public school science classes. The specific law referenced in the article is the misleadingly named Louisiana Science Education Act of 2008. If you have an internet connection, you can find out all kinds of interesting things about the Louisiana Science Education Act. Like how it's a scam to give public funds to religious schools in direct violation of the US Constitution.

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
Joined:
Mar. 19, 2012 2:04 pm

Tahuyaman, your image of the 'progressive' left as advocates of austerity is part of your confusion. We are questioning the teleological sense of mission that was part of the American Culture's sense of being the force of modern revelation about the possibility for human life on earth. The Liberal American Century Myth was about being the vanguard people for the realization of world peace and justice. It was "manifest destiny" dressed up in Providential Mission moral endeavor. Progress seemed to be what America's fantastic growth and rise to power made obvious. Progressives sought to realize that vision of "liberty and justice for all" in the City Set on a Hill. Generally in its secular realism rather than in its Christian America form.

The Messianic message of the Religious Right and the Corporate Heaven of the WTO are much less realistic or humble versions of this myth. The Progressives were rolling their dice in history with the bottom line as what worked for human society. The rise of America to power was seen as an opportunity to spread social justice and end hunger and poverty. The mission was to spread participation in power rather than to assert American Power over others. It was an idealistic and naive understanding of the real world and what was really happening, but compared to the Rightwing alternatives, it still looks pretty good.

As with our concern about economic theories of "growth," the problem with American Progressive thinking is that "saving the world" is not quite the same thing as finding peace and harmony with others in a pluralistic world. The science that seemed to promise unbridled human control of the forces of nature has become more humble as it also shows us the dangers of unbridled human use of the forces of nature. It turns out that there is "no away." Dispersion is not the answer to pollution. Technology will not answer all the problems it creates. We have to get right with Nature or have Nature take us out. "God" is not going to protect us from being stupid and irresponsible.

HOWEVER, the idea that this leaves us stuck with austerity and the loss of all the goodies we love about technology is hooey. We will enjoy clean air and water. Not having the petroleum stench and the CO exhaust would be lovely. Making stuff that lasts instead of the replaceable trash of our big box market profiteers will make life better. Less stuff does not mean austerity. Having time to live instead of having to work all the time is not a loss in quality of life.

Smart energy and conservation does not take away our toys. The intelligent development formula of indigenous ownership and naturally harmonious 'artisanal' technology brings back human community and involvment from the mass drone factories of authoritarian bosses. A smart integrated transit infrastructure can reduce our need to invest large amounts of capital in our cars and make travel better. Sound food security models also provide better tasting and healthy food sources for people who can enjoy eating and not leave anyone out. The present system only works with a huge petro subsidy.

It has been the cons who have told us that we cannot afford to have anything we need while we must pay for their wars and payoffs to their base elite. It is they who tell us we must breathe and drink poisons and eat the best food chemistry can deliver from the "industry." Yetch!

Lefties are rethinking the meaning of "progress" but not the moral and political value of "liberty and justice for all." We may be more concerned with the process than predicting its fulfillment than our early 20th Century forebearers, and we may appreciate that we are engaged in a learning process more than bringing the Gospel to the heathen. But we still present a far more humane and attractive world than that Imperial Death Machine the Right has embraced.

drc2
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Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

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