Dear Dirty America


Marxists & Their Slight Lapses of Perception

February 29
12:30 2012

Donald Worster expounds:

Too quickly, however, they have assumed that the state is merely a tool of a single elite group who own the means of production–that it is, in other word, first and last a coercive instrument of a well-defined ruling class. That kind of mechanical analysis reduces the endless conundrum of historical cause and effect to a pat formula.

Worster asks if the culture of capitalism is merely the invention of the bourgeoisie, or:

…has the rise and hegemony of the bourgeoisie been an inevitable outcome of that culture? Has the class been called into existence, thrust into a position of leadership, by the culture’s values and beliefs, shared more or less spontaneously by a wide spectrum of the population, as well as by its evolving relationship with nature through technology?

The “admittedly messier” answer seems to be:

…a culture, including that of capitalism, grows amorphously, anonymously, out of particular historical circumstances, out of particular environments, and in that process of growing sets up its own distinguishing structure of power (Rivers of Empire, 283).

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