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In And For Itself: Freedom. On the Historical Tendency of a Renewed Critique of the Political Economy of Labour

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Chapter Summary

Marx's critique of political economy strove to explain the history of modern society, to discover the 'natural laws of its movement'. Marx was convinced that bourgeois society's historical development and self-reflection in the form of political economy had established, in his own time, every prerequisite for its systematic exposition and critique. Nevertheless, the author believes Marx's approach the combination of causal explanation with freedom is the capstone on which an up-to-date, genuine critique of the political economy of labour can be built. A realistic and differentiated concept of human freedom is immediately relevant to rational critique of political economy insofar as private individuals encounter one another as free and equal persons on the market. Rather, the fact that workers viewed themselves as powerless was the consequence of universally accepted 'enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour' that is proper to all forms of moral economy.

Keywords: bourgeois society; freedom; labour; Marx's critique; moral economy; political economy



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