Marxism, for and Against

Marxism, for and Against

Marxism, for and Against

Marxism, for and Against

Synopsis

In the lucid style and engaging manner that have become his trademark, Robert L. Heilbroner explains and explores the central elements of Marxist thought: the meaning of a dialectical philosophy, the usefulness and problems of a materialist interpretation of history, the power of Marx's socioanalytic penetration of capitalism, and the hopes and disconcerting problems involved in a commitment to socialism. Scholarly without being academic, searching without assuming a prior knowledge of the subject, Dr. Heilbroner enables us to appreciate the greatness of Mark while avoiding an uncritical stance toward his work.

Excerpt

Marxism is AN unsettling presence in the modern world, the source of the most passionate hopes and fears, the most contradictory visions. But I do not want to begin a study of the subject by plunging directly into these troubled waters. Instead, let me pose a question that may stir my reader's interest rather than his or her emotions: Why is it that the work of Marx, from which Marxism springs, exerts such fascination after more than a century? Or as the matter is often put: why should we still turn to Marx for insight into contemporary affairs, when the world has changed almost out of recognition from the time in which he wrote?

I think it is possible to answer these questions in a way that sheds light on the continued survival of Marxism in the face of a hundred debunkings and "disproofs." It is that Marx had the good fortune, combined, of course, with the necessary genius, to create a method of inquiry that imposed his stamp indelibly on the world. We turn to Marx, therefore, not because he is infallible, but because he is inescapable. Everyone who wishes to pursue the kind of investigation that Marx opened up, finds Marx there ahead of him, and must thereafter agree with or confute, expand or discard, explain or explain away the ideas that are his legacy.

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