Marx's Attempt to Leave Philosophy

By Daniel Brudney | Go to book overview

5 The 1844 Marx II: The Structure of Community

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER I looked at Marx's view of the human self-realization activity. In this chapter I look at how what Marx considers to be proper engagement in that activity generates a distinctive form of community.


1. Completing One Another

In any even minimally complex society, human beings are not individually self-sufficient. Each needs things others have made. In a technologically advanced society, almost any object embodies the labor of thousands. Locke famously makes the point: "It would be a strange catalogue of things, that industry provided and made use of, about every loaf of bread, before it came to our use, if we could trace them; iron, wood, leather, bark, timber, stone, bricks, coals, lime, cloth, dying drugs, pitch, tar, masts, ropes, and all the materials made use of in the ship, that brought any of the commodities made use of by any of the workmen, to any part of the work; all which it would be almost impossible, at least too long, to reckon up." 1 We are, then, interdependent. But under capitalism, Marx says, this interdependence occurs through our mutual instrumental use of one another in the market. We each try to get the most for our own products and to pay the least for everyone else's (AM 459-62/224-27). Marx's contrast is to a state of affairs in which individuals both would identify with the species and would understand

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