The Necessity of Social Control

The Necessity of Social Control

The Necessity of Social Control

The Necessity of Social Control

Synopsis

As John Bellamy Foster writes in his foreword to the present book, "István Mészáros is one of the greatest philosophers that the historical materialist tradition has yet produced. His work stands practically alone today in the depth of its analysis of Marx's theory of alienation, the structural crisis of capital, the demise of Soviet-style post-revolutionary societies, and the necessary conditions of the transition to socialism. His dialectical inquiry into social structure and forms of consciousness- a systematic critique of the prevailing forms of thought- is unequaled in our time."

Mészáros is the author of magisterial works like Beyond Capital and Social Structures of Forms of Consciousness, but his work can seem daunting to those unacquainted with his thought. Here, for the first time, is a concise and accessible overview of Mészáros's ideas, designed by the author himself and covering the broad scope of his work, from the shortcomings of bourgeois economics to the degeneration of the capital system to the transition to socialism.

Excerpt

by John Bellamy Foster

ISTVÁN MÉSZÁROS IS ONE of the greatest philosophers that the historical materialist tradition has yet produced. His work stands practically alone today in the depth of its analysis of Marx’s theory of alienation, the structural crisis of capital, the demise of Soviet-style post-revolutionary societies, and the necessary conditions of the transition to socialism. His dialectical inquiry into social structure and forms of consciousness—a systematic critique of the prevailing forms of thought—is unequaled in our time. No less a historical figure than Hugo Chávez referred to him as the “pathfinder” of twenty-first century socialism.

The present book grew out of a conversation that he and I had in July 2013 in London, in which I expressed the need for an easily accessible work that would provide a way into his thinking for the uninitiated. He took this challenge seriously, resulting in the book before you. The role of the present foreword is to help to put his system of thought as a whole, and this book in particular, in their historical contexts, while illuminating some of the distinctive concepts governing his analysis.

Marx, Lukács, and Mészáros

MARX’S ECONOMIC AND PHILOSOPHICAL Manuscripts of 1844— discovered in the late 1920s but only becoming widely known decades later—was unquestionably the most widely discussed and influential philosophical work to appear in the twentieth century. For the first time the full philosophical roots of Marx’s system became evident—in ways that challenged the whole history of philosophy up to that time, along with the roots of the prevailing social order. At the same time the . . .

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