Jean de Climont
OF THE PROLETARIAT
ÓAssailly, 2004, 2017
Table of contents
Chapter 1 The capital accumulation
Chapter 2 The classes of the Society
Chapter 3 The categories
Chapter 4 The opposites
Chapter 5 The end
Chapter 6 The alienation
Chapter 7 The materialism
Chapter 8 The apocalypse
The process of capital accumulation is based upon Marx’s theory of surplus value. The surplus value would be the price of the unpaid surplus labour of the proletarian. The salary paid by the capitalist would correspond only to the renewal of the labour force. The capitalist would enforce the proletarian to work largely beyond what is strictly necessary. Surplus is this extra working time. The capitalist would extort from the proletarian the price of this unpaid time of work. The capitalist would pocket the surplus value.
The industry is permanently placing in the market new goods. Improvements in design and factory automation reduce the amount of labour necessary for their production. The exchange value of these new goods is relatively small. I understand that this new product will certainly replace old products with the same use. The problem is that the manufacturer of this new product may gamble. He may set a high price so that the replacement of old products is not profitable. Such a manufacturer will sell his products only within the limits of new needs. The former products will be used as long as the replacement will not be necessary when the production means and way of use would become out of age. Conversely, the manufacturer may lower his prices to accelerate the replacement of old products. He will do it in the proportion to its own business objectives.
One day or another, this manufacturer will lose its monopoly position. Competition from other capitalists will require him to lower his prices. The new product will prevail. It will then be in a new stationary situation where the exchange value depends only on the amount of human labour.
The first objective of liberalism is to force economical players to compete and thus to lower costs and margins. Liberalism is not, as many believe, freedom to do anything. On the contrary, it is primarily a fight against the monopolies and cartels, which are hindering free competition. Liberalism is above all a discipline. Relativism has invaded all aspects of thought, at the very moment the totalitarian communist regimes collapsed. The end of socialist dogma causes the comeback of liberalism at first against the State monopolies and privileges which is entailed by totalitarianism. The coincidence between these two movements has led to link liberalism with the absence of any rule. One is creating and blaming a fictitious bogeyman of wild capitalism. Everyone would think only to his personal interest with a violence in proportion to the power that seems to confer wealth. This is a deep misinterpretation.
The constant effort of liberal States to ensure everywhere the widest competition would be incomprehensible. Liberalism is at first an economic constraint. The objective of liberalism is to protect men from the abuses of capitalism. Three quarters of a century of marxist advertising mixture led to an absurd inversion of the meaning and scope of the word. Liberalism is associated in most minds with a return to the practices of wild capitalism, which in fact did not take into account the liberalism constraint. Liberalism is above all a reaction against the wild capitalism.
The facts show that liberalism has limits. These are the borders between States and agreements between producers. In a country, the government may prohibit agreements, but it is more difficult to oppose international agreements. Oil is particularly sensitive. It now conditions the functioning of all economies. However, its value can be maintained a very long time without any connection with the labour required to produce it. As there is no way to avoid using oil for transport, this value may be also much higher than that of alternative energy sources. This price level leads to monstrous profits. These profits are a key source of capital. Theoretical doctrine of Marx would be true if the economical systems were mostly stationary and would only involve exceptional unstable periods. In fact, the change is permanent. It did not always occur in the same field. There are ongoing changes that permit, in whole sectors of the economy, to set prices unrelated to the labour required for production. This is the principle of profit for Adam Smith fully opposite to the marxist theory.
Agreements and cartels can make situations of quasi-monopolies continue. The value of oil does not even relate to the labour required for its extraction. You can use coal to generate electricity. You can not replace oil to run the engines of either aeroplanes or trucks.
In his dialectical analysis, Marx distinguishes two forms of value, the qualitative and quantitative values. One is subjective and the other one is objective. Marx places the value of the available energy in the Nature in the subjective part: the use value. He evacuates on two occasions at least, in the first two chapters of the Capital, the concept of energy available in nature in the form of a waterfall, for example. There is an available energy in a much more striking way: the sunlight is essential for photosynthesis and for life. Marx considers the corresponding value as a subjective use value. This value is subjective. He denies it. He crushes it by the objective value, the exchange value. Of course, this energy is accessible, in theory, to everyone. Much more than the oil. In reality, only those who exploit it can benefit of it. They fix the prices of products they manufacture with this energy below those that result only from human labour. Those who can operate this energy are the owners of land or means of transformation. This would be the ashamed mechanism of bourgeois ownership of the production means.
Marx proposes an analysis of the mechanisms of the capitalist Society. But the capitalist Society is based on the principle of private property, especially for the production means. One can not propose an analysis of capitalist Society beginning with rejecting its principles. The capitalist Society shall be considered in the context of private ownership of production means. If, after analysis of such a Society, we are led to predict catastrophic consequences and an inevitable final collapse, its very principles shall be questioned. It should then propose something else, if that is possible, since the property is a quite idealistic notion. A title of ownership is a convention. The facts show that the behaviour of a business manager may not differ from that of an owner. If the owner is the State, the manager did, in many cases, have greater power. One can imagine the worst. And the worst happened with the Soviets.
The value of oil is arbitrary and without any meaning. I question the marxist analysis of capital accumulation in the capitalist system. The analysis is wrong. The owner of oilfields, should it be a State or a private individual according to countries, makes huge profits, only because he is the owner. These profits do not come from the exploitation of the proletariat. They result only because of being the owner. The property is the key source of profit. The facts show that concentrations of capital result, without exception, from privileged situations of this kind.
Rockefeller guessed the importance that oil would take. He started his fortune with paraffin oil. It was the time of oil lamps, more convenient than candles. He took advantage of production costs and distribution lower than competing products. Competing products eventually disappear and later on paraffin oil itself gave way to electricity. He had enough time to accumulate billions of dollars. Accumulation results of the part of the benefit coming in excess of the benefit obtained with capital invested in means of production of previous similar products. Once again, as soon as the operation of a new product is wide spreading, competition inevitably reduces margins. The fact remains that Rockefeller’s fortune was not built on the exploitation of the proletariat, but on an initiative, an invention I might say. He was the first to have the intuition of the development of oil consumption. He makes a fabulous profit. The intuition is essentially an individual property.
analysis is that ownership of the invention, in the most general sense, was, is
and will always be the very single condition for accumulating capital, for
building fortunes. I will now prove it. I will be inexhaustible. I start with
the most brilliant idea. It returned to Julius Caesar. When he left
his campaign of
far as we look in the past, there is no confirmation of Marx’s theses on the
process of initial accumulation. Today, the most shameful accumulation comes
from drug trafficking and all forms of smuggling. The Bolivian cartels, the
traffickers of the golden triangle, the Mexican maffiosos,
the Afghans, the Moroccans of the Rif, the Malians
show an imagination ceaselessly renewed to make and forward their production
all over the world. This is the extreme form of smuggling. The sale of their
product is banned in most countries. Profits are beyond imagination and in
proportion to the risks. This activity is not new. The Jardine-Matheson
Company still exists. Of course, it left
have not done with the billions of dollars. We are at this level of fortunes. I
challenge you to find such a fortune based on the surplus value as defined by
Marx. The opposite occurs in fact. The lamination of margins led inexorably
these fortunes to disappear, most often precipitated by errors, dreams and
partitions, sometimes during the life of the author of the fortune. The
stubbornness of the heirs to stay in the commands of their business is the surest
way to disappear. It is what arrived at the legendary Wendel
are now joining speculators. Honour to whom honour is
due, I begin with the Regent, the uncle of the very young Louis XV. He
Those who tried to speculate too late were ruined. At the end of the Law’s Indian Trade Company, the forced course of bank notes ruined many lenders. The same occurred with the assignats during the French Revolution. Lenders were not all speculators. Many must invest to live. I find it quite funny the Marx concern for these families returned to their original condition. The Communists, wherever they took power, having completely dispossessed these families, have eliminated them as potentially counter-revolutionary. “Ei son Tiranni che dier nel sangue, e nell’aver di piglio” These are tyrants who have stripped their subjects of their property and bathed in their blood. Soviet Hell has little to envy the Dante’s Inferno.
After the Regent, turn to his grandson. A
few months passed after the death of his cousin Louis XVI, Philippe-Egalité bought within the Farmer Generals’ wall, the limit
continue my litany of billionaires. Billionaires in thirty
days. Thirty days were the time needed to cross
the edicts of Louis XI, marine insurance is at the same level as the forges.
Not only these activities were allowed to the nobility, but it was also its
source. Fortune made, one bought a seat in the local Parliament or a
certificate of colonel. In the process, of course one pays a noble title. What
were the resources of the Names of Lloyds? Shares of marine insurance, everyone
knows that. What is the most lucrative? The most risky of
course. They were seated between people of high society in the gilded
Robert Heilbroner, a famous marxist author wrote: “how the eighteenth century, so sweet and so fine, could have given way to industrial horror?” I can not find words to describe such blindness.
Let us come back to the billions of dollars. Thirty days used to be also the stock exchange settlement. Soros became a billionaire in thirty days by gambling against the pound sterling. He then lost a little on the yen. He resurfaced on the mark. Finally he doubled his positions on copper. Unfortunately, at the end he gambles against Euro. He fails.
Have all these fortunes been at any time a result of exploitation of labour? Investing one’s assets in industrial firms is the safest way to reduce it progressively to nothing. A Rothschild said: “There are three ways to ruin: gamble, women and engineers. The first is the fastest, the second the most enjoyable, the third the most secure.”
I said too in seven days? That was enough to buy a
flat two hundred square meters in New York, London or Paris, then to sell it
with a profit of ten, twenty, thirty per cent. There are fifty-two weeks per
year. You may collect ten million per year without being too much tired. Ah!
Yes, says the speculator, you have to visit a lot of flats to select the best
deals. Nevertheless this speculator can not claim to enter the circle of
billionaires. It would take more than a hundred years. This is not on a human
scale. Moreover speculative bubbles are only temporary. He will have, at best,
only five or six years. He shall seek another market: offices in
amount of wealth is it constant? The enrichment of a few is it at the expense
of others? Nobody believes it any more, except a few Trotskyites. Ageing
reduces value of properties but they are permanently renewed. The standard of
living raising adds extra assets to this renewal. This raising is sometimes
low, even declining in some places. But the overall value of assets grows
non-stop since the end of major epidemics, despite the wars and the horrific
tragedies of past centuries. Life expectancy increase of men is also a factor
increasing the quantity of wealth. This increase extends the possession
duration. It forced the new generations to acquire assets while waiting longer
for those to come by inheritance. The secular increase of the amount of assets
is obvious. But this increase is far from occurring on a regular basis. It is
quite the opposite. Men have bouts of fever caused by multiple types of
infections. They also seized from time to time brutal passions, sometimes
collectively, thwarting all analyses and all reasoning. Similarly, the
economies of nations encounter some kinds of diseases and suffered the
consequences of collective passions. The medicine of economy remains largely
empirical. Sudden fevers bear suddenly the value of some assets at levels that
defy imagination. They then fall lower than reasonable. Speculators slip in these
moments of madness, when they are not themselves the perpetrators, dangerous
gamble where more than one has lost their shirts. The Hunt brothers of
That said, I do not wish to give any moral value to these assets. I just want to show that they do not result of the accumulation mode postulated by the marxist theory. The property, in particular the ownership of invention, is the sole cause of capital accumulation. I freely admit some provocation by using the word property in the case I just presented. Speculators take advantage of circumstances. I realise that, by this same mind of provocation, I started with the means of capital formation the most shocking, if not the most shameful. Thus, we left the ninth circle of billionaires’ hell, the circle of traffickers, to move to the Malboge, the eighth circle of Dante, dedicated to smuggling. We visited afterwards the seventh circle, devoted to speculators. Do not think I put all these characters really in hell. At the beginning of last century, many were of great generosity. Moreover, I would see hell more for bad thoughts than for collecting money. Worse, I feel that the extent of knowledge, wealth of mind, leads more surely to hell that the extent of material wealth.
Let us climbing the billionaires hell up to its doors, hoping that our poor savings and our good faith will be counted by Cerberus, which could be surprised to see us leaving without having seen us entering. The population of the circles of hell increases in inverse ratio to their elevation. It’s an implementation of the principle of a compatriot of Dante, the sociologist and economist Pareto. There are still some nice characters in the sixth circle. Again, the invention is not to be taken literally. In this circle, the billions were raining suddenly. It was only necessary to be ready, in the suitable place to benefit of circumstances.
all major disasters have been nice opportunities. Wars come first. While
profits have been eroded by competition, constant efforts have enabled you to
survive. You have grown reasonably, always reducing the costs to a minimum. You
are an honest boss. You have reduced your standard of living to show the
example, unless it was a little by necessity. You have created, among the
first, pension funds and welfare funds. But then war exploded demand. All your
forges are overwhelmed. In haste, you lit back the old blast furnace, promised
for demolition. You start without delay the construction of a new steel mill,
you double the forge. What luck! The front is far away. Two years, three years,
four years, you are firmly established in the sixth circle. Your colleague of
chemistry draws more, faster. Your banker does not complain either. Names? You want names? Of all ages, all countries, this is a
small excerpt: Wilkinson, Dietrich, Carnegie, Krupp,
Thyssen, Schneider, Pétin et Gaudet, Jackson, Wendel, Nobel, DuPont de Nemours. Until the
nineteenth century, iron then steel were the main sources of profits in times
of war. The First World War has benefited mainly the chemistry of explosives.
They were, in most cases, recent products still protected by patents. It was
monopolies without price constraints. Monopoly belongs to the fifth circle we
will visit soon. The sixth circle has still many other residents. World War II
has the same advantage as the first. In addition, there are new industries.
Aircraft industry took off really, if I may say. Here is a new crowd of
billionaires. Since then, conflicts have not ceased. No doubt that the massive
should be noticed by the way that these new techniques have emerged in the
capitalist countries. Planned systems, marxists’
systems are opposed by nature to change, to innovation. What was the managing
rule of the masters of the soviet military-industrial complex? They think above
all to maintain their production, their existence. If someone, somewhere among
the Soviets, had invented a way to replace the electronic lamps, what would
have done the military-industrial complex involved? It would have opposed with
all his strength against innovation that would have rendered completely
obsolete its production. The only chance of the innovator was to convince a
great leader. How ironic! In a socialist world, intended for paving the way
towards the communist equality, there was no other way than licking the boots
of chefs. You can not install in a backyard garage. You could not take
initiatives. Any individual attempt was denounced, suppressed, goulaguised. What is the problem of planning? It is that of
computers. They only are able to index the inputs. They can predict trends that
were not detectable in the mass of information. They can not, under any circumstances,
foresee the emergence of a new technology. They can not imagine the emergence
of new technologies seemingly contrary to the assumptions considered the most
established, even if already somewhere in a garage, are assembled the
components of a new alchemy. Thus, electronics, computers, software and
Internet make more millionaires than any other invention in History.
Circumstance should be favourable of course! It was the Cold War. There was no
direct confrontation of the two giants, but an arms race, culminating in the
star wars, the SID of the Department of Defence of the
After wars, one shall rebuild. More industry progresses, more destruction spread. There are other disasters than war. The fire of a city, frequent drama in those days when the houses were wooden, offered prospects for a start. These are other large opportunities for building industry. It should then give some extension to the first movement, by purchasing a steelwork for example, to reach our hell circle. The demand is so great! But it is not inexhaustible. It is difficult to retire from a business patiently built. The bulk of the fortune came within a few months, at worst a few years. Fortune is so tightly linked to the business that it seems it could disappear with it. Also, the founder remains. It happens often that trying to pursue ruins him.
Vanderbilt had not these moods. His coasters make large profits. Civil War enlarges his activities. The purse full, he sells the boats. He wants more now! He bought iron mills, a beautiful business. Perhaps, but he sells it soon. It is just time. The result is not only great it is fabulous. Vanderbilt remains a symbol of wealth, to overshadow Croesus.
are others who want to remake the Rockefeller coup. Greeks! They dream! Not at all. With two
we have a slightly different kind of billionaires. This one did not have any
ships on the seas. He did not have any oil wells. Few percent you say? Gulbenkian drew only five small percent from the production
Trade has only one goal: make the products and services available to those who might need them. It is the origin of the accumulation we are looking to. It leads to billions in exceptional situations. Yet, wherever we look, all these activities do not, at any time, involve any accumulation of profits by proletarian labour exploitation. Such profits are by no means the objective of trade. Trading is not a significant employer in the whole economy. This is an activity, which is completely outside of what could be called the speculations of Karl Marx. He considers trading as incidental exactly like transport.
Marx found that trading, like banking, is only taking a share of the gain resulting exclusively from the surplus labour. The second book of the Capital details this process. The capitalist shall give a share of the gain on the invested variable capital to parasites loaning with interest and to unscrupulous trading people. Trading would be of no use in a planned socialist Society. The needs are scientifically established so that demand would always match production.
The reality does not seem to comply with such dopey concepts. The need for a new product is only first in the mind of its inventor. The need is often undetectable, as there are no means of measurement. In addition, a new product has to compete with existing products.
is not always good when it is thought. Ruin may occur when it appears to be too
early to generalise a technique that is not well developed. The English wanted
to redo with nuclear energy, the stroke of coal during the industrial
revolution. They bet on nuclear energy in the early years after the war. They
built dozens of nuclear power plants, small and expensive, which have never
been profitable. They were saved from complete ruin by the unexpected discovery
of oil in the
Marx analyses the capitalist Society through the filter of his own doctrine and uses this analysis both as a basis and a justification of his own doctrine. It is only petitio principii. The analysis does not conform to reality. The capital does not draw its source of the accumulation of profit as defined by Marx. Let us go up in hell; the demonstration is not completed.
Let us going away from the sixth circle, considered as shameful. Our era has its criteria. They result from the scientific point of view of Marxists. We just see a fairly strong limit on the practical level to the value of the word “scientific”. Just take care that the value of that word is not rejected by the abuse that the twentieth century made of it. I will make you wild to hear that: I see a few appearances that make me think that the twentieth century, in the absence of other gods, worshiped science. It was no less religious than previous centuries. This is just a matter of words. One will refuse to take things as I just stated. Intellectuals are presently nominalist and can not tolerate that words are used in another meaning than that specified by their oracles.
State is not a contractor. The idea, essentially socialist, that State would be
a better business manager than citizens, has long reigned unchallenged. It has
not always been so and it was not the case at the time of Marx. Examples
abound. The most famous example is the Thurn und
Taxis trust, holders of the monopoly of mail in the
railways were developed by monopolies as well, at least locally. Gould and
Vanderbilt in the
Notaries and other public officers, holders of monopolies, had an intermediate social position that gave them a very special place in Western societies. Also they had exceeded the means necessary to meet their needs, they generally did not reach that level where you can affect not to care of livelihoods. The fortune shall be far greater. They had not only to hope, but also to undertake some lucrative activity. It is this social level where the need for promotion was by far the strongest. To climb even more, they pushed children in the most advanced studies. Some children did not really understand, or pretended not to understand the social objective, they mislead in science, philosophy, religion. Here are many great minds: Pascal and Descartes, Diderot and Voltaire.
fourth circle look like the fifth. It is much more
crowded. Here are the fortunes resulting from of a dominant position for a
product. This is of course the case of goods protected by patents. There is a
famous case exceeding all others, not so much because of the product itself,
but by the use made of the enormous wealth that was drawn from. It is the Nobel’s
dynamite. However, the inventor is seldom billionaire.
banking, a fully different domain, the use of large-scale clearing, both
between individual accounts and between accounts of States, helped increasing
the fortune of the Rothschild. This system replaced the transfer of funds by
writings. In the early nineteenth century, transport costs of funds were
extremely high because of the risks. The case of the mail coach of
The profit involved in the accumulation of capital comes mainly from the possession of means temporarily out of competition. These means can only be the result of reflection or intuition, in a word of intelligence. The profit can accumulate, that is produce capital, if these means are protected and escape the competition. Everybody knows the smart card and admires the ingenuity of the inventor. Few know that the liquid cardboard packages are protected by patents and allowed a Swedish family to raise a huge fortune. There are no competitors.
to hold patents, one can attempt to limit or eliminate competition. We enter
now the third circle. Let us start with Bill Gates. It is the wealthiest
The crises of capitalism have nothing to do with the deccrease in capital gains derived exclusively from unpaid surplus labour. You will never find any huge fortune that would come from accumulation of surplus value directly drawn from the Marx postulate of a permanent reproduction cycle M-C-C’-M. The capital accumulation never results from the repetition of the capitalist production cycle, as described by Marx. The accumulation process imagined by Marx is fully contrary to the facts. The problem is that Marx only considers economical steady state conditions protected from any innovation and from any change. “All things being equal” is the motto of the three books of the Capital. You will even find the Latin version: “ceteris paribus”, looking more scholar without doubt. In this steady state, Marx tries to infer the existence of his surplus value, the principle of his capital accumulation. The problem is that there has never been and there will never be a steady state within economy. Capitalism is a breeding ground continuously producing new inventions. Capitalism is a monstrous oven spiting non-stop future products. Capitalism is a hellish furnace delivering permanently unexpected materials. For better and for worse: Marxism itself was a sub-product of capitalism. Things are not all equal. Changes and innovations, on the contrary, are the very essence of capitalism. Capital accumulation is possible only within this instability. It is a marginal effect, not in the sense of limited, rather, in the sense of a side effect, cliff effect. This is the Adam Smith’s thesis.
Sometimes inventors make fortune. I have already mentioned the smart card, but the range is unlimited. It may be a perfume, an artificial fibre, a drink, a computer program. There is also, in this circle, the invention of a concept as the holiday villages. It is a bit the same as dominant position of the fourth circle. There must be nine circles. I will try to be better for the second circle. I include in this one operating a de facto monopoly. One can not build two rail or road networks in a country to allow competition. There is only one electric distribution network, one distribution network for drinking water, one single network for gas distribution, one for mail delivery in each city. The operation can be entrusted to a company after a call for competition, but the contract awarded, there is more competition in the operation.
The main shareholders of Enron were billionaires. They are all ruined. Capital accumulation is not irreversible. Things are never equal, especially for billionaires. It occurs periodically bubbles of speculation resulting from an excess of confidence. Confidence is the fundamental motive of liberal economy. But over-confidence leads to increase beyond a reasonable value some assets and equities. The dreams and passions outweigh by time to time on reason. The uncontrolled increase of some values causes a general increase in debt capacity and therefore in investment beyond what is necessary for the satisfaction of needs. The need itself is not known in advance. How many products, first considered unnecessary, have become indispensable? That is why gamble and risk are also driving the liberal economy. What is the limit of the risk? No economist could say in advance. The bubble burst, destroying confidence and ruining many, for some years. As in all things, excess is detrimental to economy, but the denial of risk is lethal.
the first circle, I would place media people, publicists, artists, movies
actors, singers. They seldom reach one billion; it is true, except Picasso. At
least the first circle is not completely empty. Let others enter complacently.
They dream of wealth and make everybody dreaming of their
The name of a newspaper or television channel is protected. It is a kind of patent. This is a property such as author and editor copyright. This may be a source of surplus value like all kinds of properties.
Marx distinguishes capital from fortune. They would be two entirely different categories. Fortune results from an accumulation based upon personal labour. Capital, on the labour of others. Marx wrote “Private property based on personal labour is the antithesis of the property based on the labour of others. It grows on the grave of this one” (The Capital, section VIII Chapter XXXIII). Nevertheless, the accumulation based upon the property and the personal work did not still die. Quite the opposite, as we saw in the preceding pages, it persists, it extends, it prospers. On the other hand, the accumulation based upon the work of others faints. It decays, it fades, it disappears.
For Marx, it is absurd to add values belonging to opposite categories. The movable and immovable assets, which are not used to generate surplus value by exploiting the proletariat surplus labour, have no objective value. They are not capital. You can not mix categories. From his postulate that everything is dialectical, Marx argued that the mixture of the various forms of assets is the fundamental error of economic theory prior to his own theory of surplus value. They would not solve the fundamental problem of the origin of this surplus value. His theory would be the first and the only possible answer. You could not mix categories.
It is the foundation of the dialectical approach. The Marxist wants to see only oppositions. Hegel had the same approach. The difference with Marx it is because the opposite categories of Hegel merge to give the One. While for Marx, one of the categories has to disappear to give the One. Which one? Marx he, he knows! The fortune assumed to be the opposite of the capital has to disappear. The bourgeois assumed to be the opposite of the proletarian has to disappear as the noble disappeared in front of the bourgeois. We are going to see what the situation is. It is in reality the proletarian who is disappearing!
The marxist analysis of the phenomenon of capital accumulation is completely false. Fortune and capital ultimately have only one source: private property, property in the broad meaning. Property rights of the inventor, the author, the artist shall be included in the broad meaning. It applies as well to inventors in its broadest meaning as the holder of an idea, whatever its nature, likely to be protected by one way or by another.
Adam Smith did not take care of this subtle marxist distinction between fortune and capital. He even did the opposite. The facts, the praxis, give fully reason to Adam Smith.
The classes of the Society
The doctrine of Marx lies in few statements. The only reality of History is “nothing but forms of class struggle”. The class struggle is the only source of social change. Classes are related to the position of its members in relation to the means of production. The means of production belong to the bourgeoisie. The proletariat has only its labour force.
This difference in position creates an opposition, a contradiction relevant to the materialism dialectics. In the marxist dialectics, unity may only be achieved through the elimination of one of these two classes. The proletarian class bears all the misfortunes of the world, it has a universal value. It shall prevail by appropriating the means of production. Society will end in communism, a classless Society. Without class no more History. It will be the end of the History. Without the uprising of the peoples against this nonsense, the Humanity would have been able to know this end of the History, the disappearance of the whole Humanity taken by the killing frenzy of the marxist doctrinaires.
The corollary of the marxist doctrine is that another class that would challenge his power to the proletariat can not exist. The bourgeoisie shall be eliminated. But the proletariat can not find itself divided into classes. Moreover, the proletariat can not tolerate a lower class that could enter into struggle against it. The lumpen-proletariat, the under-proletariat, shall be eliminated as soon as it appears.
None analysis based on the principles of Marxism can lead to a differentiation within the proletariat. We should understand that the appearance of the Nomenclatura within marxist States would then be the result of the dictatorship of the proletariat. It would be a temporary class to conduct the business while waiting the advent of classless communism.
In the mean time, a differentiation has occurred inside the proletariat class itself within developed countries, although it is fully contradictory with the Marxist theory. It results from the automation of industrial tasks and mainly of the extraordinary development of the means of communications. The proletariat of Marx, sweating blood and water, is no more existing in developed countries. You can still find a large sample of such fossils in marxist States. You would make laugh everybody by saying that blood and flesh of the draftsman, of the secretary, of the computer science engineer, of the commercial, pass physically within the tasks they perform and are squandered by the big capital. These occupations are considered by Marx as incidental expenses; probably unnecessary. The victory of the dialectic materialism will make them disappear. Real proletarians, hammer and sickle in hand, will finally enjoy the full value of their work. They will finally recover the shamefully surplus value extracted by the vile capitalists.
difference can be made between opposition and struggle? The wild opposition
between the Marxist factions would not be a struggle for the power? Did not
this struggle reach its paroxysm in the ex-USSR, in popular
The positions of employees in production today are very diverse. They differ among themselves more than the bourgeoisie differs from employees. I do not see how the marxist definition of classes can be applied today in the complex structure of Society. I am wondering if the criteria of marxist analysis ever existed. What was the nobility that the bourgeoisie would have dislodged from power in 1789? How the nobility was distinguished from the bourgeoisie? Marxists claim that the nobility was distinguished by its privileges of feudal origin.
marxist theory of classes is
purely symbolic. It brings complex social structures in homogeneous sets, in
monads. The nobility, as a social class in the struggle against emerging
bourgeoisie has never existed. The nobility was essentially multiple. Its
components were more distant between one another than the bourgeoisie was
distant from the proletariat. The struggles for supremacy between the
components of the nobility have always been fierce. The same applies to the
struggles between bourgeois factions. The Ancient Regime is much more marked by
struggles between members of the aristocracy than by the struggles between the
bourgeoisie and the nobility. The French Revolution is much more characterised
by power struggles between bourgeois than by the bourgeois struggle against the
nobility. There has not even been confrontation. The privileged nobility has
applauded the abolition of privileges on the night of
According to the marxist analysis, the nobility as a class would have a real existence, while the internal divisions in this alleged class would not have historic significance. The same is true for the bourgeoisie and the proletariat!
The nobility was only a status. The knowledge of the Middle Ages and the era that preceded made huge progress over the past few decades.
ancient Greeks called aristocrats, the wealthy families who held power. They
knew only one form of wealth: the agricultural wealth,
acquired and maintained by the maritime trade. Plato belong himself to one of
these richest families. In the Theætetus, he tells
that those families were singing their genealogy walking along in the streets
Despite popular belief, the nobility is first administrative. Its access was generally possible only through the exercise of public offices the “officia”. It was a direct inheritance of the lex romana. The Roman nobility, the senators, was purely administrative. Among these offices, most included military responsibilities, but senators wore only ceremonial arms. Julius Caesar, just as Marcus Aurelius, Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon 1er and François 1er never fought a spear or a sword in hand. This does not prevent them to be represented on proud steeds, hitting the enemy. The famous painting of Charles V, spear in hand, is a little ironic. You do not see any trace of the enemy! The son of a senator, the son of nobles subsequently, had to get a degree to be able to take a public office and they entered the army to occupy their youth.
The old Venetian families, enriched in the salt trade, are by far the
oldest noble families of
The gradual nobility of the robe was attributable to holders of
administrative offices by succession for three generations. This nobility was
not subjected to “letters” nor thus to recording by Parliaments or fiscal
courts according to the Province. But significant services could make it immediate.
This was the case of the father of Vauvenargues. The
father of the philosopher, des Graviers, one of the bourgeois
The second form was the personal “immediate” hereditary nobility. It was given to the holders of gradual nobles before the legal exercise had not been reached. The “immediate” nobility was also awarded in case of feats of arm, during this period. The largest part of the nobility of Empire should, as such, belong to the nobility of the sword. It was awarded, primarily, to the officers of Napoleon. Only Marmont had inherited from a former title of nobility. Others obtained the honors only by means of their sword.
As long as the ennoblement was not venal, it was a form of thanking for service provided to the king. The immediate nobility by “letters” was the normal form of ennoblement by purchase of a title as soon as the thirteenth century. Henri IV prohibited this form of ennoblement in 1598, but restores it from 1608 to relieve the state budget. Louis XIV charged twice the people ennobled after 1689 to contribute to the budget of the wars. Diderot tells that we could buy nameless, “bearer” letters in a way. There were some cases of personal immediate nobility that is non-transferable.
The third form was the municipal nobility, also called nobility of the cloche, usually personal and not
transferable. This was the case with the members of municipal and regional
councils. The famous “capitouls” of
We have seen that the main privilege of nobility was a large tax exemption. The farmers-general, responsible for collecting taxes and fees, challenged belonging to the nobility. The oldest aristocratic families belonging to the gradual nobility, deprived of written evidence, were the primary targets. They were regularly assigned to court to demonstrate their rights against the tax collectors. Turgot, early in the reign of Louis XVI, tried to put an end to tax privileges of the nobility. The “whereas” clauses of the law insisted on the general equivalence between fortune and nobility. All rich bourgeois could be ennobled without any difficulty. His reforms failed behind the cabals of Marie-Antoinette, more driven by revenge than by rejecting reforms. She was totally indifferent to the tax treatment of ennobled bourgeois. Turgot had refused, I do not know what favor to her friend Polignac.
This transmission remained practiced in the
The practice was widespread, first in
The French issued from foreign nobility were, by law, assimilated to the
French nobility, but the “verification practice” widespread gradually
transforming right in grace. This grace was denied for reasons sometimes
extravagant. The Emperor Rudolph II was designated in the nobility acts of the
Until the seventeenth century, the only title of nobility of the Holy
Roman Empire was a baron “Freiherr”, translated from
the Latin liber baro,
freeman. The title of Count, “Graf”; Marquis, “Margrave” and of course Duke and
Archduke “Herzog” and “Erzherzog” were reserved for
reigning houses as the dukes of Austria, the Habsburgs; the dukes of Bavaria, Wittelsbach; the Marquis of Baden, the Zärhingen,
and the counts of Salm, the Salm.
These provisions have evolved later than in
At the end of the seventeenth century, has
emerged counts, then dukes and princes in the late eighteenth century, outside
the reigning families of the
We examined the problems of nobility and titles. We should say a word about fiefs, particles and coat of arms.
From the tenth century, fiefs could be acquired without any specific status. Most of the time, the purchaser was not noble, but rich enough. The acquisition was systematically subjected to an act of the Lord of which raised the acquired fief. This act was needed to justify feudal privileges attached to the fief.
Also from the tenth century, the fiefs became hereditary. It was already
the rule for States from the East Roman emperors of
The noble fiefs, with feudal rights, were listed in the
The holder of a fief could be designated in the letters of nobility under his name followed by the name of the fief. At the end of the sixteenth century, the particle “von” was most often used. Such a designation was accompanied by the particle “zu” in the nobility acts of previous centuries. For example, this was the case of a family Hoffmann in Styria, ennobled around 1495 under the name of Hoffmann und zu Grünbüchel and Strechau. This family was never called “von”. In the nineteenth century, the use of “von” was fully established, but families have added “und zu” to indicate that they were still in possession of the locality contained in their name. In reality, the “zu” was the form of the particle in the Southern Germanic regions such as the Styria.
The situation was similar in
The particle was in no way a sign of nobility. In the early Middle Ages, it was customary to wear only first names. It
was necessary to specify the place of origin to distinguish people. The
examples do not count. I quote one of the most famous St. Isidore
In the year 1123, Pope Gregory VII decreed the obligation to bear a name
and imposed the transmission of the name of the father of all the children. At
that time, the fashion was to give children “troubadours” names which were not
so many. The situation was inextricable. The genealogies that can be traced
beyond that date are also extremely rare and unreliable. The use of names
already existed in countries of Latin law, like
For the record, no one dared to ask the kings of
By the way, there is a curious coincidence. The Habsburgs are from Aargau, a canton of
According to lawyer Richard Schröder “Lehrbuch der deutschen Rechtsgeschichte” titles of nobility “Somit hatte er das Recht, seine Eltern mit dem Adelsprädikat” von “zu benennen” a nobility act gives the right to wear the nobility particle “von”. However, it seems that this rule appears after the sixteenth century.
The exclusive transmission of the father’s name is, in fact, arbitrary. It does not exist in Roman law. It does not exist in roman law which was of the “tribal” order applicable to the ”gentes”, the big Roman families descending from a common ancestor by the women.
During the eleventh century, a notion totally contrary to Roman law was
drawn from this rule: the law of primogeniture. Mister d’Espinay
wrote a very detailed essay on this issue. In the old roman
law, the inheritance was passed on the “gens”, the tribe we could say, whose “gens Julia” is the most famous example; it was the imperial tribe. The
properties were thus common to the members of the “gens”. The head of the “gens”, the pater gentis,
holder of the properties, could be an adopted boy. The roman
law evolved. The properties of the “gens”, limited to the family, were divided between the
members, except in case of will. But it seems that wills, according to the
examples which were preserved, are used only in the cases of problem of
succession, essentially in the absence of descent. Furthermore, the
transmission of the name of the father has no relationship with the Salic law which applied only in the fourteenth century and
exclusively in the royal succession. Even Francs shared their properties in
equal shares, but only between the men. It was barbarians! Moreover, the Salic law was written under
The law of primogeniture appears only in the eleventh century. It
applied only to the possession of feudal fiefs and was intended to preserve
their entirety at a time when the birth rate increased by a particularly mild
climate. The problem arose only when it would have been necessary to share a
single fief. The lord’s interest was to refuse such a sharing in order not be
in the presence of several owners. But in reality, all children had an
inheritance. Because, when there was only one fief, the eldest was said the lord
and the following children his subjects. Thus each had their share of income.
The same Lateran Council decided that this divisibility stopped at the fourth
generation, this was the canonical kinship. This problem disappeared later on because
of the great plague of 1347-1352, at the beginning of the Hundred Years War.
The population of
The law of primogeniture was not applied in the countries applying the roman law, the former
The Germans, like the Swiss and the Spaniards were very entertained for coats
of arms, an outward sign of notability. They were paint or sculpt on their
home. In the Basque Country, in
We may conclude these details by loss of noble status, the return from
the state “nobilis”
to the state “ignobilis.”
Until the eleventh century, the titles corresponded to administrative offices, “officii” or very
occasionally military offices, “comes palatii
militia”. They were assigned by imperial, royal or prince decision and were
naturally reversible. When fiefs become hereditary, they were more difficult to
be revoked, except in cases of treason. In
This exemption also existed in the
Conversely, the rule of derogation was general. It can be summarized as
follows: a noble can do business, but only large business. The derogation involved
in general, commercial business. However, profits can only come from trade, and
first through international trade. Since Roman times, a noble, thus a senator,
could only cultivate their lands. In reality, they have figureheads, freed generally,
to take care of marketing their production. They all produced goods of big business
of that time: olive oil and wine first. But they have also on their land brickworks, the father of Emperor Marcus Aurelius was the
king of the brick, bronze foundries and other industries. Senators of
The largest fortunes, and the most ephemeral, have always resulted from maritime trade. The best known example, but certainly not the most sympathetic is the father of Chateaubriand who made his fortune in the slave trade without losing its noble status. Marine insurance called “bottomry loan”, have always been allowed to the nobility and even royal families. Chateaubriand armed and commanded his own slave ships.
the troubled period, which succeeded the
In the North, the Franks, probably less numerous than
the former local population, kept for a long time a clan structure.
They served as a model for the idea of nobility, a pure creation of the
nineteenth century. Lords of war is what Marx wanted to consider as the
nobility. The simplest is to consider the social situation of
Troubadour historians of the nineteenth century invented, not without nationalist
and racist intention, the legend of the knights. It would have been a class of
purely Germanic origin which would have been the origin of the French nobility of
the sword. Historians of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries put an
end to this pure invention. Professors Baldwin and Werner, in particular, have
shown that the administrative and military organization throughout
Equii, the ancestors of the mythical knights,
were a class of Roman Society that has never ceased to exist until the end of
families of the plebs were allowed to trade. So that plebs families became
richer than the old senatorial families. It was a deadlock situation totally
unstable. The appearance was maintained by expedients: marriages, adoptions and
assassinations. The father of the emperor Marcus Aurelius acquires his fortune
by manufacturing bricks and tiles. He would have been called today the king of
tiles. Knighthood and skilful alliances and adoptions brought his grandson at
the head of the
The Feudal lords nobleman lord was indebted to the king of a number of knights and infantry, “milites pedites” fixed by the charters of fiefs or by tradition. Abbeys and chapters of the dioceses shall also supply a number of knights defined by the lord or by royal charters. The feudal lords could present themselves on the request of their lord or of the king. This was very rare for reasons of age and health. Generally, they sent a representative, a mercenary, with the contingents required of men mobilized in their fiefs. They could also pay compensations instead of sending fighters.
The knights paid by the lords and the clergy could be from very humble extraction. But, contrary to the foot soldiers, the knighthood was hereditary. They shall have physical strength and courage. These two qualities are seldom transmitted to more than two or three generations. Moreover, mortality was so outrageous at that time that a social renewal from the bottom was essential. Additionally, the cadets of noble families, most often without resources, volunteered often for this job. It was a way to get rich, in case of victory. They received the spoils of the vanquished or the ransom of the prisoners. It was also, as in Roman times, a way for children of the bourgeoisie to get closer to the lords.
Since its very Roman origin, and until the late thirteenth century, the notion of Knight had nothing to do with the concept of nobility. The link appeared in the nostalgic imagination of the troubadour poets and historians of the nineteenth century.
Philippe August, the role of the knights went on decreasing until disappearing
from battlefields after Azincourt and
Subsequently, the kings of
The Knights have, historically, no link with the idea of nobility. The nobility has always been administrative. By the late thirteenth, Philip the Fair began to sell letters of ennoblement to fill the coffers of the State. What remains then from the very principle of nobility? The practice of selling letters of nobility, initially limited, had been generalised by the sixteenth century. Charles IX imposed the creation of twelve noble families by bailiwick in January 1568 to pay the debts of the State, through the sale of patent letters of nobility.
recognising the nobility of magistrates, Henry IV generalised the Roman concept
of administrative nobility. Later, Peter the Great adopted the same principle
But this is not all. The emancipation of the offices of State, now hereditary, extended from the tenth century to the fiefs. Simple possession of noble fiefs gave the nobility in principle to the third generation. But later, families were ennobled by aggregating under the mere fact of living “nobly” after three generations. This same rule of three generations, the gradual nobility, as opposed to the immediate nobility or the first degree, applied to many administrative office detention.
Those who have wealth have power. That is the eternal reality. When a title was useful to exercise power, the ambitious and rich enough bourgeois could always get one or obtain one for its descendants. Ways depended on times. The result has always been the same.
The Epic of the Crusades played the same role in the French families as the poems of Homer. However, the problem is different from the Greeks. During the first crusades, the French, like all Europeans, were only given second names. Later identifications by originating place names, which distinguished the Crusaders, are mythological, with few exceptions.
is no family in
if we attribute to very ancient families an origin ex nihilo,
not resulting from a prior enrichment, it would not be a social class. A very
few more can claim to have had some power before the Hundred Years War. This
war had not made so many victims. But, in the year 1354, year of its outbreak
in Crécy-en-Ponthieu, a terrible epidemic of bubonic
plague, the black plague, halved the population of
An earlier event shows the total aberration of the theory of classes of Marx. Families who came to the noble status between the year one thousand and the fateful Hundred Years War were not extracted out of the thigh of Jupiter. However, their origin is a double challenge to the marxist doctrine. A challenge to the marxist concept of class: they are bourgeois origin, and the marxist concept of production mode: they have and industrial and capitalistic origin. What is it?
know that the West was marked after the year one thousand by an unprecedented economic
and population development. A propitious climate has made it possible to
exploit areas such as the inhospitable slopes of the summits of the
was less noticed that silver, exhausted at the end of the Roman period, gushed
forth. The flow did not slower until the reign of Philip the Fair. This king
had to make several reassessments of the value of silver coins. It also
regulates the silver production. The edict of 1308 ordered “prohibition of
refining silver in furnaces in private and secret places, of melting and
refining fraudulently and maliciously our silver currency black and white or
redeem silver in the State currency hostel, for taking silver outside the
kingdom. We order to destroy and dismember the said furnaces”. Around Mil,
while the shortage was almost total, mines of silver ores were suddenly opened
the same time, the abundance of iron, and the fall of its price, allowed its
use for agricultural tools and architecture. The Sainte-Chapelle
abundance of iron can only result from the development of a new means of
production. Marxist historians have placed the invention of the waterwheel and
blast furnace as close as possible to the Renaissance for ideological reasons.
In conjunction with these innovations, a change in social structure should have
taken place. These people write the History according to their doctrine, not
basing on facts. However, the paddle wheel, a source of energy, already existed
at the end of the Roman era as well as water pumps, as described by Vitruvius. The blast furnace in no way constitutes an
industrial revolution. The problem is not the height of the furnace, but its
products. The characteristic of the blast furnace is the production of pig iron
on an almost continuous rate as opposed to the low furnace which shall be
destroyed after solidification of the sponge of iron. However, batteries of
small furnaces were discovered during the construction of the
process for making charcoal, the distillation, was discovered just at that
time. However, charcoal was exclusively used in blast furnaces. The development
of iron could be inferred from changes in the quantity of charcoal produced in
the royal forests in particular. The account books of Philippe August have been
analysed recently by the professor John Baldwin. They report the income of the
royal forests and mention charcoal. However, no income appears to have been
drawn from forges themselves. The same observation was made in the archives of
the Exchequer of Normandy and
abundance of silver metal from around the year one thousand could have the same
explanation. The silver mines of the Roman period were worked-out for
centuries. It remained only place, rivers, towns or villages named with the
Latin radical argens. There was no more silver
ore exploitable. So that when rebuilding Argentorate
completely razed by the Alemanni, they did not
hesitate to seek a new name:
However, it turns out that one of the oldest and most famous fief of the
Low frequencies in the South of France result from either a problem of
terminology. It is the
Areas of igneous origin have no iron mines, and probably no cobalt-silver
mines. This is the case of the Hercynian ranges and granite
The word “fosse” meant a pit mining and its equivalent in the High
German word is “stauf”, “staufen”
in the plural, a word which also meant a cup and was translated into French by
old goblet. Stauf means a hollow. It is associated
with the mountains in Staufenberg, or a river, Staufen,
or multiple cities and towns in
family, originating from
Note: The map specifies the regional divisions before 2016. Frame corresponds to the IGN maps 1/25 000
The most amazing thing in this card is the importance of the
There are charters mentioning forges, especially charters conserved by abbeys. Nothing appears for the metallurgy of silver. We shall therefore think that the exploitation of silver cobalt ore mines was achieved prior to the year 1100. It is likely that the appetite for silver was such that the mines were exploited and exhausted in a few decades, at the beginning of the eleventh century.
The development of new forges has inevitably been the source of new fortunes. It could have been the same for the exploitation of silver cobalt ore mines. The manufacturing of iron and silver products for consumption was certainly the origin of many fortunes as well. Yet it was just supplements to the parallel development of other activities, such as the textile industry and agriculture associated with the expansion of the population. The development of iron and silver metallurgy can not be the cause of this extension. However, the availability of large quantities of silver could have contributed to the ease of trade and development.
Incidentally, it should be noted that the lack of separation between Church and State could not be a cause of social and economic gridlock. In the eleventh century, the economic boom took place in this situation. It is to all the activities that it is necessary to attribute the emergence of a new aristocracy, in the sense of all the rich families, and not an aristocracy issued of an unknown uncreated fortune as the Marxist wanted to convince us. Mazarin did not belong to the nobility. He grew rich in the power, he made dukes his heirs. His fortune was not of bourgeois origin. We can thus say that Marx was right. The category nobility existed. It had seven members. The husbands of seven nieces of Mazarin!
The year 1720 was a pivotal year. The system of Law ruined most ancient families. Individuals took the risk to borrow heavily. They finally have nothing to pay because of the Law banknote forced rate. All of these individuals gained ennoblement in the twenty years that followed. In front of the abuses, the royal administration tried to curb the movement. Some buyers were asked to pay again in the king’s treasure to be confirmed in their new noble status. In 1750, the end of the War of Austrian Succession, the war of the battle of Fontenoy, marked the beginning of the colonial era. It was marked by a return to prosperity and a huge wave of ennoblement.
to marxist doctrine, a class
is characterised, by the antagonism with another class. Since the nobility was
only a status making the bourgeoisie dreaming, where was the antagonism?
Philippe-Egalité, prince of the blood, Talleyrand,
addition, the marxist system
leaves in the background the tax privileges of the Church, which were also
abolished. One of the first acts of the representatives to the Constituent
Assembly was to restore the financial balance of the State in nationalising the
properties of the Church. The kings of
ownership of these bishoprics as abbeys moreover results from a financial
peculiarity. To finance the enlargements and the works of big maintenance, bishoprics
and abbeys borrowed by alienating the income of their lands and villages and
industries which were there, in particular forges. Bishoprics and abbeys could
not resell the donations which were made for them. The Episcopal and abbatial securities,
the “commendes”, which carried income, were never
paid off in fact contrary to the princely loans. The securities were exchanged
between the successive buyers of the “commendes”.
They were perpetual loans in a way. Montaigne received
the income of the lands of a cure of
Marx, classes are relative to their antagonisms. However, the high clergy and
nobility had not ceased to struggle during centuries, sometimes in bloody, especially
Social classes would be determined by their economic role, by their place in the production. The nobility would have live only of rent, the bourgeoisie of profits and the proletariat of salaries. The class struggle as immutable natural law of human Society arises from the contrast between salaries and profit, profit and rent. It was, in fact, the theory of Ricardo, quoted by Marx himself. I am not sure that is really the marxist doctrine. Fortunately, if I may say, this distinction would lead to unfathomable difficulties. Indeed, a very large part of the bourgeoisie was living with rents.
The bourgeoisie, in a marxist meaning, is the social class living from the exploitation of the proletariat. One wonders in which category is the rentier bourgeois. At the same time, many noble were living of salaries. Outside of the owners of charges which are a kind of rent, the administration officers and military were salaries. They do not have any rent. These activities involve activities. Moreover, these activities were often in the mean time in charge of members of the bourgeoisie. The reaction of the privileged people, ruined by the severe economic crisis, which preceded the Revolution, leads to close access to the bourgeoisie of many of these activities. It was not any more so since Louis XI and especially since Henri III. However, the reaction could not prohibit the bourgeoisie to hold officer ranks within technical Arms such as Artillery and Engineer Corps. The nobility was not pushed by tradition towards the intellectual effort, and was unable to hold such jobs.
One wonders to what category belongs the salaried noble? One wonders conversely to what category belong the forgers managing several companions. They pay themselves the companions, applying, of course, the principle of surplus labour denounced by Marx? The forgers were not capitalists. They had only their salary. They exploited their companions by paying them the minimum necessary to maintain their labour force. Perfect capitalists, as defined by Marx, were acting exactly in the same way. In which category should we put the forgers?
The forgers would be, like managers, a trick invented by the capitalists to improve performance without compromise. If employers or forgers push the exploitation of the proletariat too far, the capitalist did not deem responsible.
Who is remaining then in the famous classes of Marx? After detailed analysis, I fear they are empty. There has never been any class struggle, but always and everywhere a struggle for places. The facts are analysed by Marxists in the light of their assumptions. Marx defined the categories of Society, the social classes. Marxists can not depart from the definitions of these irreducible categories. Outside these categories, the materialist dialectics collapses. The dialectical method begins with the search of categories on the basis of definitions and criteria. These categories are then opposed one another. Then they are assumed to be antagonistic, opposite. Without categories, they are no more opposites, and without opposites, there is no more dialectics.
do not matter by themselves; they only make sense for Marxists as seen through this
dialectical process of thought, inspired directly from the Hegelian dialectics,
transformed by Marx into physical reality. We know now the innumerable victims
of the Gulag, the monstrous slaughters of the Dalstroï
The marxist doctrine can not be stopped by these details. “What can do ten thousand dead for a man as I” said Napoleon. Tens of millions of victims do not matter to the Marxists. Let break eggs and make the omelet! It is dialectical materialism, which continues its triumphant march ahead.
My belief is that the Nomenclatura that Marxists created where they assumed power, are the only class that ever existed in the marxist meaning. Small paradox that I would call dialectic. Everywhere and always, the structure of Society is extremely complex and is characterised by permanent flows in all directions. So that the dialectic opposition view is twice wrong. A multitude of social strata in no case may be summed up in two opposites, and flows between layers are in no case limited to two movements only.
is permanently an influx of excluded, disadvantaged, misfits, and anarchists.
We can see well up a new possibility of opposition: the lumpen-proletariat! These
unfortunates could form a category likely to oppose proletariat. They did it in
Kronstadt. They did it in
Unfortunates excluded, refuseniks and anarchists shall be eliminated. This is the marxist justification for the massacre of the rebels in Kronstadt by Trotsky. Thousands of dead in a few days. The Tsarist police never acted with such violence. The underclass has to be eliminated. The proletariat is the ultimate category, an universal. The proletariat can not accept the emergence of a new lower category. After the victory of the proletariat, the Marxists deny the negation of negation, the struggle with another class. The underclass has to be eliminated. The Tcheka, the sinister GPU then the not less sinister KGB tirelessly collected the excluded unfortunates and sent them to the Gulag. The underclass has to be eliminated. The fate of the anarchists was much worse. They were tortured before being systematically eliminated. It can not, in any case, arise other lower categories. They could enter into dialectical struggle against the proletariat. Then it would lose its universal value. The anarchist category can not exist. The underclass has to be eliminated.
The marxist dialectics is to identify categories in Nature. These categories gather objects of the physical world with an identical nature. Marxist categories are closed. There are two categories of capital. It is impossible for Marx that the fixed capital category could include any part of variable capital belonging to a separate category. This position is totally opposed to the vision of Adam Smith. It led to the absurd Marx impoverishment. Smith comes to the opposite conclusion. He left his categories of capital opened to exchanges between one another.
Here are some other facts that should be ignored. The Society is no longer the exclusive seat of the struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Social merciless struggles self-generate in countries where the bourgeoisie has been eliminated. Furthermore, segments of Society collides one another with the same violence, without entering into the exclusive dichotomy.
To explain these two paradoxes, professor Bourdieu discovered a dynamic analysis method of the Society. It was his famous social space. The binary classification of Marx and Engels was a simplistic view. The very idea that all power result of capital in the marxist meaning, had something shocking. Churchill, how many billions? Yet what force!
We breathe better in the large boards of professor Bourdieu. There span the many aspects of Society. They look like paintings of some great battle. The habitus are like banners snapping in the wind. They identify and gather the units that will move off. They are waiting the flag is waved transmitting the order of Colonel General. The trumpet, upright on the saddle, holds his breath. The drummer, there, behind the troop, is already raising his drumsticks.
“The worker is marked with the stamp which dedicates him property of the capital. The stamp, about which speaks Marx, is only the lifestyle itself, through which the most deprived give up themselves immediately, to their use of the spare time so dedicating to act as a foil to all the attempts of distinction and to contribute, in a quite negative way, to the dialectic of the claim and of the distinction which is for the principle of the ceaseless changes of the taste. Not content with holding more or less none of the knowledge or the manners which receive value on the market of the school examinations or of the worldly conversations and to possess only know-how devoid of value on these markets, they are the ones who do not know how to live: those who sacrifice most to the material foods, and to the heaviest, to the most unrefined and to the most making fatter of them, bread, potatoes and fat, to the most vulgar also as the wine, those who dedicate least to the garment and to the body care, to the cosmetic and to the esthetics, those who do not know how to rest, who always find something to make, who are going to put up their tent in the overpopulated campings, who settle down to picnic at the edge of the road, who who enter with their small car in the traffic jams of holiday departures, who give way to the prefabricated leisure activities designed in their intention by the engineers of the cultural production of big series, those who, by all these choices so badly inspired, confirm the racism of class, if it is need, in the conviction which they have only what they deserve.”
This long extract of the Distinction of professor Bourdieu puts him at first in the Marxist lineage. He speaks dominants and dominated, rather than proletarians and bourgeois, but the objective is the very same: eliminated the dominant bourgeois.
The difference holds in the criteria which characterize the dominant and the dominated. It is not any more the sickle and the hammer that distinguish, but the social behaviour. And the social behaviour is conditioned by the social standing. It is not as much a question of different cultural activities, but of the way of being engaged in it. It is what explains the extract which has just been quoted. The dominant try hard to maintain the distance with dominated by putting a style, a particular taste in their activities belonging to the cultural capital. They transmit their style and their taste in their descent so that it remains in its dominant position. Professor Bourdieu also noticed that the dominant know how to develop their taste in particular according to the permanent changes which mark the technical society where we live. His dominated have automobiles to go to holidays. The dominant thus take the airplane and go at the end of the World to stay between them. The cultural capital thus enters the determination of the “classes”. It is very interesting.
Unfortunately, the statistics used by Pierre Bourdieu show that less than half dominants result from dominants of the previous generation. On two or three generations, the dominants are almost totally renewed by sons of dominated. Two generations of high level graduate, there are some. Three, it is extremely rare. Conversely, we do not count the young heirs refusing to venture into long studies or incapable to succeed, who come to enlarge the tight rows of the dominated.
the essential weakness of Pierre Bourdieu's analysis
comes from his criteria. There is practically no habitus specific to a given class.
Yet it is there to ignore a common and general cause in these gaps. The human tendency independently of the social standing is to envy the others and want always to put themselves over them. To take back the example of the meals of guests used very often by Pierre Bourdieu, it is necessary to notice that the dinner guests are systematically engaged in judgments on their table companions as soon as gone back home. And this behaviour is absolutely independent from the social background. Every family has its habits considered as rules of etiquette. So, the worker who invites his colleague and his wife for dinner will not miss to consider it socially lower by some even minor inappropriate behaviour or conversation. The neighbour of table who does not conform to it is a “slob”! It is the judgment of a dominant on a dominated. I think that this attitude is even more marked in the simplest circles. It is not because the most distinguished hosts do not judge, but they apply to widen their social influence by inviting hosts about whom they know that they can be lacking in basic rules of the good society. So they do not need to judge after because they have judged before.
The distinction exists at every level. The businessman, the industrialist, the upper bourgeois in brief, will have strictly the same behaviour during their receptions. This attitude is present from the childhood. It is almost general. But conversely there are always children, then persons, who do not have this attitude and who feel irreparably lower. But it is a minority as natural homosexuals. It is not the will to make distinctions which characterizes the dominant class. Thus the will to maintain the gap is not a classifying factor by itself.
It is necessary to add to it that the Society was upset by the technical progress and the successive economic crises. Today, the distinction is not so much between the holders of the economic power, and thus holders of the cultural power according to Pierre Bourdieu, but between those who have astronomical income, celebrities, stars and sportsmen, followed by some speculators, and all the others. This change was fast and the new dominant bourdieusiens have none of the good manners of the former society. The survivors of this former society feel they should adopt the habits and customs of these new savages by participating mainly in the general destructuration which characterizes this beginning of millennium. Nothing more distinguishes men between them in all the domains since the explosion of the family until the destructuration of the clothing. Except that celebrities have private jets.
The problem of master Bourdieu's Marxist theory is not there in reality. On the battlefield, the enemy is identified. In the social space of master Bourdieu, the enemies are gathered by conjuncture. The analysis places the social groups. It identifies them by their habitus. And this analysis is deployed in the various fields: the field of power, the field of education as so many layers.
How an analysis may determine from its own differences, ranking, downgrading, upgrading? How an analysis may announce the outcome of social struggles? How an analysis may predict the emergence of groups that do not exist yet? The doctor does not proceed to all possible tests. He ordered the tests that will confirm his diagnosis. His diagnosis, his hypothesis is based on symptoms he thought he recognised.
The method of Master Bourdieu is an analysis of Society. This analysis is conducted with an objective. It was his assumption: in every field of his social space, social agents are required to gather. The resulting groups, with variable surfaces, are formed on the basis of the opposition between dominants and dominated. This is not only capital, money, to be taken to the bourgeoisie. There are other social fields which provide power. Other forms of power and first the cultural power shall be challenged. It is necessary to withdraw the cultural wealth from those who hold it. Culture is the essential source of power. Behind an analysis infinitely more realistic than the Marxist naivety, we find the objective of Marx: the elimination of shameful bourgeois. We are not going to leave this good piece. For a century all the intelligentsia made us “eat” the bourgeois, the horrible capitalist, trading war arms. It was the leitmotiv of the social novels since François Mauriac, the golden progressive, until Maurice Druon and Jean d’Ormesson. These both, the big last ones, finally turned round, doubtless measuring to a late flash of lightning of clear-sightedness, the extent of the horror of the Marxist systems and its tens of million innocent victims.
There is no evidence that the opposition between dominants and dominated is the only form of social relationship and that it should be conflicting, even revolutionary. Max Weber, the inventor of this terminology, did not see there a cause of conflict but, rather, a factor of emulation. Bourdieu’s analysis is conducted to determine the risks, or the opportunities depending on the point of view, for the formation of such groups. The analysis shall determine, in each field, the magnitude of possible groups depending on the objective. It can not lead to another result than to confirm or refute the hypothesis.
The “universal model” of master Bourdieu would be heuristic. However, his model can not, as a tool of analysis, determined a priori the circumstantial groupings. A criterion is necessary. It is not even veiled by Bourdieu: “the structure of the distribution of different types of capital controls the representations in this space and the positions in the struggle to retain or transfer the power”. The criterion is the struggle for power. This criterion allows Bourdieu to extract from his nice boards the probable groupings.
Is this the only criterion? Is this a valid criterion? Finally, it is unclear under what postulate the dominated should always prevail.
The social space of Master Bourdieu would be the “first and last reality” that would allow for forecasting, then mobilising and organising the groups which will lead the social struggles constantly renewed.
An analysis of social space at the end of the old
Regime would it have allowed foreseeing the Revolution?
Does the confrontation match the criterion of Master Bourdieu?
There had been in no way a shock between two social groups one of which should
disappear. There had been one single shout: no more injustice. On
method of Master Bourdieu does not provide for the
emergence of a new category. How the Nomenclatura, or
its equivalent, may have appeared in the
The strength of concrete structures is largely due to the size of the aggregate used. If you remove a part of the size spectrum, that is gravel size between two values, the concrete will be more fragile. You can also extend the spectrum up or down, depending on the intended use. For concrete of low thickness, you can add very fine particles at the very bottom of the spectrum to increase the resistance. You also improve the tightness by this means.
If you remove a layer of social structure in a nation, it will be unstable, unmanageable. At a level of technology development, and communication essentially corresponds an adapted social structure. When a social layer is eliminated it regenerates itself by necessity. Concrete is inert. It can not generate the missing part of the size spectrum thus it breaks. The social doctrine of Bourdieu is exactly as opposite to reality as Marx doctrine.
brutally and completely eliminating the bourgeoisie, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao and
their admirers across the planet have totally destabilised the three-quarters
of the nations. And they have, against their will, let create a replacement
class for the functioning of nations. This new class, the Nomenclatura, justified in its
own eyes by a theoretical illusion has appropriate privileges which no natural
social class would have ever dared dream. In
Bourdieu-the-science, it’s super-Marx. His admirers will understand as fast as Trotsky and Mao that the bourgeois mind can disappear only by physical elimination. Post-marxists will go even further. They will eliminate not only rich in cash but also rich in culture. They already calculate the exchange rate between the cash capital and cultural capital. To test their calculations, they will create a tax on the level of culture. Cultured people will be listed. It will therefore be easy to eliminate them when the time comes.
The proletarian class of Marx has disappeared for a long time now. The proletarians are no longer those poor men whose blood passed in the product. They are represented today by the Bourdieu-the-science dominated people. The class struggle is the struggle of dominated against the dominants. And this struggle is now being conducted by the marxist parties and the marxist trade unions. Bourdieu-the-science did not contest the validity of the dialectic struggle.
Any aggression causes areaction. Trade unions are fighting against the employers. The management defends itself. It also reacts, and at another level. It was not written in any book. The historical materialism had not expected that. What is its reaction? In the marxist meaning, the capitalist is the opposite of the proletarian. But the proletariat has another opposite: its own demise! The proletariat is in the way of the capitalist? What does the capitalist? He tries to get rid of the proletariat. He mechanises, he automates, he computerises, he digitalizes. And the proletariat is reduced accordingly. The vanishing of the proletariat is inevitable, as was the suppression of slavery. We’ll see one day a new Abraham Lincoln, the left hand on the heart and lifting his right hand to heaven, calling for the abolition of the proletarian condition.
Indeed, the proletariat will undoubtedly have entirely disappeared long before. The proletariat commit suicide. By desperately clinging to marxist postulates, marxist parties and unions continue struggling and that can only hasten the demise of the proletariat. Not only strikes without justification other than to preserve the dogma causes the impatience of the citizens, but each strike helps to amplify the movement of the automation in industry and services.
avoid an increase in unemployment, Pompidou had opposed in the late 60s, at the
automation of French industry, mainly in the automotive industry. It was thus
necessary to get a large workforce in
There are dockers in Marseille, paid doing nothing while waiting for the pension. The handlings are subcontracted in private companies since the reform of the autonomous ports, renamed “Big Seaports”, in 2008.
The situation is similar for the book-trade and therefore the newspapers. Misuse of the strike will lead to strengthening of the use of the Internet and thus to the demise of print industry. Unions can not act on the production tool already automated at all levels, but they act on the distribution. We will soon print newspapers or books at home, at least for the parts that you wish to have in hard print form. There will be no more proletarians because there will be no more distribution. The suicide.
The automation of transportation of persons is slower. The problem is particularly complex for security reasons. The increasing automation of transportation become more and more requested after each strike. There will be soon no more drivers. The suicide.
The plummeting of shipping cost between ports as
Students can not disappear. They imagine they have to take the torch of the struggle of the dominated against dominants, the torch of the proletarians crushed by the big capital thinking only of profits. They can not disappear certainly. What will disappear is the teaching of legions of students only interested in politics, without any useful proficiency except organising strikes. Students will not disappear, they will go to private universities or abroad. Therefore also suicide, the suicide of Marxists.
The workers who remain are covered with privileges that moribund unions are trying to protect against all logic. The problem is not the vanishing proletariat.
the social problem resurfaces today. It has nothing to do with the class
struggle. This is not a problem of class. It’s an organizational problem. Task
automation and the Internet transmit the entire burden on middle management.
Information travels at incredible speed. Communications are global. They must
remain constantly connected with
The middle management is overwhelmed, stunned, exhausted.
Imagining that computers would make possible their life is an utopia. Since the beginning, computer made the situation worse. Internet made things beyond reason.
Actually, the problem of the proletariat was also a problem of organization, and financial, it is true.
The dialectical approach is based upon categories. The determination of categories is the foundation of Hegel’s dialectic theory. Marx’s theory rests on the very same basis. For Marx, these categories reflect the physical reality, whereas for Hegel, they belong to mind.
The capital, the value, the surplus value, the proletariat are categories. A sum of money is not a capital unless it is used in the process of capitalist production, otherwise it has no dialectical reality. This is the marxist definition of the capital.
is not the usual definition of the capital. The manor a capitalist buys with
his profits, is an asset, a capital in the
etymological meaning. It is not a capital in the marxist meaning. The capitalist is not forced to “throw”
the surplus value in the production process. He may renounce to grow. He could
later mortgage his manor, to put more money into his business. I did not
understand what Marx means when he says: “When a man eats his assets by
contracting debts, the value of his assets represents only the sum of its
debts.” The debts of this capitalist match the money that was
lent by banks on the basis of the mortgage. Nothing is lost in this
case, exactly as in the chemistry of Lavoisier. If
the value of land has not changed in the meantime, he may invest exactly the
amount he had previously withdrawn from circulation. If all goes well, he will
be able to reimburse the banks and obtain by the way the release of his
mortgage. He keeps his manor while in the mean time he has increased his
business. It seems obvious that Marx did not want to mention, in this passage,
that case where the capitalist sells his manor, spends everything, and,
moreover, made debts for nothing, by playing roulette for example. In this
case, obviously, he has only debts at the end. But lower in the text, Marx
leaves no ambiguity. It is truly the capitalist who bought assets useless for
capitalistic production. Such assets, the manor and the domain, are worthless
for Marx. We could actualise the reasoning by replacing the manor by a nice
flat uptown or a villa on the
In which category are the sums collected, not to say accumulated, by speculation and by all the means described in the first chapter? I joke by classifying these means within the nine circles of Dante’s Inferno. These sums belong to an idealist category without any use in the frame of dialectical materialism. However, the money collected by those means can at any moment be “thrown”, as Marx said, in the process of capitalistic production. However, they are not coming from any initial accumulation. These are the very words Marx is using. These sums are collected on the sidelines, so to speak, of the process of capitalistic production and not during earlier periods. They could not be formed if there was no capitalists. Marx did not envisage this situation, although it is inherent to the capitalist system.
Marx did not envisage it because it has no interest within the frame of dialectical materialism. The initial accumulation was not of interest as well. Marx has explained this point, probably in response to criticism. Money does not fall ex nihilo. It has a history: that of historical materialism of course. The main aspect is that at a given level, for a given amount, the sums of money initially accumulated are changing of nature, changing of quality. They become capital. They are then truly in the category capital. Marx said: “One accumulates by capitalising the surplus value. To accumulate it is necessary to convert a part of the net product (excluding replacement and wear) in capital.”
Where Marx places the money collected within the capitalistic world, outside the production process? Manors, aeroplanes, yachts bought by billionaires are they just ideas without any physical reality?
Marx says at the beginning of Capital: “A thing can be useful, and the product of human labour, without being a commodity. To become a commodity a product shall be transferred to another, whom it will serve as a use value, by means of an exchange”. He stated a little further in his book: “Lastly nothing can have value, without being an object of utility. If the thing is useless, so is the labour contained in it; the labour does not count as labour, and therefore creates no value”. Flats, villas, aeroplanes, yachts are material objects, but they do not play any role in the process of capitalistic production as soon as they have been manufactured and sold. They do not play any part in exchanges either. They are socially useless objects and therefore without any use value. Once their exchange value paid by the capitalist for his pleasure, these goods are consumed as are consumed the livelihoods produced by capitalists in their factories. It is clear that what is consumed has no more value, no longer exists as an exchange value. The labour and surplus labour required for their production have been paid to the capitalist who has again thrown their exchange value in the production process. There is no more value in the meaning of dialectical materialism.
The exchange value is also a well-defined category in the frame of marxist theory. Any value that falls outside the definition of this category, that is which does not result from production process, is a purely idealistic concept. And the exchange value includes, in addition to the depreciation and to the material used, the equivalent of labour and surplus labour. The latter is the time worked by the proletarian beyond what he receives to reproduce his labour force.
Everything not included in the marxist categories are only idealistic notions without use. Through its categories, strictly defined, Marx believed he discovers the law of capitalistic production. The capitalist shall constantly increase the constant capital that he throws into his factory. This increase is the result of mechanisation, the cost of which grows continuously. The share of variable capital is narrowing. This results in a lower rate of profit, which is, according to Marx, the fundamental law of capitalism.
Mechanisation and automation are not instantaneous phenomena. There are areas, such as steelworks or building, where mechanisation is slow and lasts for centuries. The capitalist can not in any way increase its investment indefinitely. A blast furnace has the same life as him. The forge master who owns only a blast furnace, a situation very common at the time of Marx, had only to operate it. He lived the most comfortably the best he was managing his business.
I counted in the three books of the Capital around 1000 citations of the words “all things being equal”. The reader is even given the Latin version “ceteris paribus”. But nothing is ever equal. Almost all of upper fortunes have been accumulated precisely because nothing is equal. At every time, the newly rich have benefited from over evaluated marginal rates or from competitive advantages, often on very limited duration. This is the only true condition of accumulation. The cause is the private property. And private property is not just assets. The first form of property is intellectual property. The invention is the most perfect form of property. The invention allows profit, as the invention is protected from competition. The invention provides generally a decisive competitive advantage, allowing margins far exceeding that of competing products or processes, where they exist. This is the fundamental source of surplus value, knowing that the value itself can only come from the work as shown by Adam Smith.
There is accumulation in the meaning of dialectical materialism, only for the surplus value resulting from the overwork extorted by the capitalist who only pay to the worker the cost of reproduction of the labour force and not the actual labour performed. According to Marx, the latter may represent a duration twice the duration required for the reproduction of the labour force. Capitalists would accumulate by capitalising the surplus value.
Marxists define categories with high precision. Otherwise, the oppositions that would govern the relationships between categories become inextricable. However, these oppositions would be the physical reality. Idealists would be doomed in advance. They apply inadequate definitions to the determination of the categories. Therefore, they fail to find the true opposition relationships. They can not in any way access to the material reality.
Unfortunately, the number of tasks that fall outside the production process has literally exploded. But in Marx’s theory, contrary to the theory of Adam Smith, these tasks are merely incidental expenses and create no value. This is the case of transport, services, all tasks related to trading, such as marketing, advertising, distribution, all the tasks of management and control. All these tasks are now fully determining the exchange value of the products. A product badly presented, poorly packaged as they say, will sell poorly. It would finally be worth not even the cost of production.
Marx said: “The commercial profit is not only as theft and fraud, but this is largely where he found its origin.” This profit corresponds to all these incidental expenses. All these trade managers and marketing managers sitting in luxury offices, surrounded by a multitude of secretaries and staff ready to meet all their demands, if not their desires, are social leeches; their fabulous wages increase costs. They increase the proletarian surplus labour requested from the proletarian by capitalists.
However, Marx has evolved along its gigantic work. He admitted that the transport may include labour and related surplus labour. Thank you for the market porters, movers, dockers and other handlers. Those poor men do not have the chance to see their strength physically proceeding in the products they peddle. Marx has thus changed its definition of the category “labour”. It is no longer including exclusively physical work related to the production of products.
The necessary evolution of the definitions of categories seems to me that there is another level of evolution besides the contradictory relationship between these categories. I do not see how the dialectical materialism can integrate the changing definitions of the categories. If even, the evolution process of these definitions was based itself on dialectical conditions, the appearance would be saved. It would be necessary to have categories within the categories. Oppositions or contradictions would lead to these categories and to their own evolution.
If we look only at facts, the crowds of employees involved in what Marx called incidental expenses, are now considered by marxists as belonging to the proletarian class. I do not see how this extension of the proletarian class could be drawn from the marxist definition of the proletarian category. The most troubling is that this problem also exists for all other categories of marxism. The class of capitalists, the bourgeoisie, against which the proletariat is struggling, is itself essentially evolutionary. Capitalists may be simple employees seeking to grow their savings for their retirement for example. At the same time, employees run the business on behalf of a multitude of shareholders. However, these employers are ranked within the capitalistic class. The definition of the capitalist class has been changed even more dramatically than the definition of the proletarian class.
Let me know how it has been possible to slaughter proletarians on behalf of the proletarian class? After all, the bourgeoisie has been eliminated entirely from the early months of Russian and Chinese revolutions. Therefore, subsequently proletarians were exterminated. It was necessary that someone decided to change the definition of the proletarian class then decided to remove the elements of the proletariat seen as flawed. The dialectical movement would, in itself, include the process of any becoming, which would be within its essence. I read in some marxist writings, the word self-dynamism. The perpetual movement in some way!
In reality, the communist party leaders decide. These parties form a new category. To my knowledge, this category does not appear in the writings of Marx and Engels. The class-consciousness should have pushed all proletarians to join the Communist Party of their country. There would not be a new category. Yet only a few only observe, analyse, criticise and decide on changes in definitions. These are the leaders of the party. They are by themselves a category. A hierarchisation of the proletarian class seems to me completely contrary to the principles of marxism.
Assuming that the communist Society is fully realised, it is not conceivable that everything becomes frozen. This would be the death of the dialectical materialism as an essential process of the becoming of all things. The functions ensuring the evolution of definitions of categories shall continue existing to maintain the correct category definitions, basis of the dialectical approach. It shall remain a social category that was not foreseen by Marx.
A social category, a class, specific and permanent, shall remain in charge of changing definitions of other categories and of the proletarian category, which by the very principles of Marxism, should have the unique existing category. The observation, even limited to the social and economic processes, is far from being an easy activity. It does not just require a few experts to decide. It takes a lot of agents for registration and transfer of information to be gathered every where and at any time. Otherwise, the synthesis will remain pure intellectual fictions as we experienced. It needs armies of inspectors, auditors, recorders and so on. They are truly a class by themselves. This class is inevitable, even after the advent of communism, by the very principles of dialectical materialism, because the definitions of the categories can not remain static. But it is also paradoxical. The proletarian class is regarded by marxists as a universal. Universal is a unique and exclusive. A universal is the culmination of the dialectical approach, the final step. A universal can not be divided. This purely administrative class is impossible in the marxist dialectical approach. Unfortunately, it is absolutely necessary. It is completely paradoxical. The Soviet Nomenclatura was, in large part, this essential class. I wonder, moreover, how this category can itself evolve? The facts show that it had crystallised reserving to co-opted individuals exorbitant and hereditary privileges.
an infinite number of categories one above the other would be necessary to
define the categories and their evolution? Imagine it is not so and there is a
supreme category. The definition of the supreme category would be frozen. Which is contrary to the dialectic as becoming. Even worse,
this supreme category permanently installed in its place, will it be able to
perpetually renew the definitions of the lower categories, not to mention the
inevitable errors that will lead to the elimination of entire masses in an
arbitrary manner? The beautiful theory of internal dynamism of marxism would be transformed
gradually into a frozen reality, like the Arctic waters to the coming of
winter. We remain confused to read from the pen of Marx that the proletariat
will be the ultimate winner of the class struggle. The Society will be
therefore frozen? What becomes the becoming? In reality Soviet and Chinese marxists have create one class
over the proletariat. This administrative and governing category, the communist
had never the intention to change the definition of the proletarian category.
Comfortably installed in the luxury of its predecessors, Nomenclatura has tried to freeze
the proletariat in his condition. And to be assisted in this conservative task,
to preserve its privileges permanently, the Nomenclatura was to create from
scratch an additional category: a political police under the names of
successive Tcheka, GPU, NKVD and KGB. I do not know
the name of the Chinese equivalent, suspecting that the army itself, a category
ignored by Marx, useless probably, plays this role in
What is the becoming of the proletarian class, when alone, if possible? Where is it going to by it self-motion? Marx had claimed predicting the future of the Society and the final victory of the proletariat. And after? What is the interest of the dialectic, if it fails to explain the becoming? If one shall be content to observe how the Society operates, then what is the use of the dialectic? What is the use of dialectician?
is true for social categories, dramatically, is also true for all categories
such as capital, value, and surplus value. The consequences are equally tragic,
if not more, the whole economy can be involved. The
Gulag is no longer needed in case of error on these categories. Entire
production can be removed or replaced by error; entire peoples led to famine,
one can imagine the worst. It happened in
The category of the surplus value is certainly the most problematic question. Marx claims, in Chapter XXIV of the first volume of Capital, page 414, that the surplus value is not cumulative. A capital that has provided its surplus value cannot then anymore contribute to the accumulation. The initial capital had already extorted its share of blood from the proletariat, so that it can not provide new surplus value. This is typically a problem of categories. The initial capital could not be initial again, as long as it has given its surplus value. There is no function “undo”, in the dialectical materialism. Marx took a more reasonable position lower in his book the Capital. But he did not come back on this blunder. If the value of surplus labour not paid by the capitalist does not exceed the value of labour actually paid, then the series of surplus values is convergent. The overall surplus value of the capital used in the process of capitalistic production would be limited. The limit is very low relative to the capital used, which is contrary to the facts. One might think that the unpaid surplus labour, exclusive source of surplus value according to Marx, is in fact much higher than the labour paid to support exclusively the renewal of the labour force of the proletarian. This would be consistent with the marxist theory of incidental expenses. The poor proletarian is responsible to supply, through his surplus work, the cost of all incidental expenses: the remuneration of all intermediaries of capital, the banker, the merchant and all those activities that not entering by sweat and blood in the goods delivered by the capitalist. Marx did not dare to go beyond this ratio of one for one already monstrous to justify.
Even Engels, the compiler of Book 3 of Capital, had some very harsh words for Marx: “The preparation of this chapter for publication presented a large number of difficulties. Firmly grounded as Marx was in algebra, he did not get the knack of handling figures, particularly commercial arithmetic, although there exists a thick batch of copybooks containing numerous examples of all kinds of commercial computations which he had solved himself. But knowledge of the various methods of calculation and exercise in daily practical commercial arithmetic are by no means the same, and consequently Marx got so tangled up in his computations of turnovers that besides places left uncompleted a number of things were incorrect and contradictory.” (Capital Vol.2 chap XV p 249).
Forgive me to let me go to polemic. This is not where I wanted to come, and it is unimportant. I tried for a long time to understand why Marx was able to make such wrong rationales and to make such errors. This is not the only one. The most famous is the lowering of capital gains with time, and its two fundamental consequences: increasing the mass of the proletariat, and above all its inevitable impoverishment.
My belief has always been that such errors can not be mere moments of blindness. They shall have a common cause. This cause shall be inherent to the dialectic. It is difficult to find it only by reading the Capital. After reading entirely the supreme work, I came back to Hegel. I had confirmation of the highly arbitrary nature of the definition of his categories, called idealists by marxists. I came finally back to Kant. With three exceptions, the categories of Kant are released from the need for opposition, which characterises the categories in Hegel and Marx. This simplification has allowed me to see the importance of defining the categories. The determination of categories results inevitably from their definition. Thus the conclusion is clear. Marx and Hegel have trapped themselves in their categories. The problem of categories is their definition. The dynamic of dialectic does not at all result from the evolution of these definitions. It comes only from the oppositions between categories. These oppositions create the illusion of an evolution. One could compare the dialectic to a factory with its production means. The materials used for manufacturing are constantly renewed. They disappear in the manufacturing process. Manufactured goods leave the factory. But the tools remain the same. The manufacturing process can not change itself the means of production. Changing the means of production is another process. The evolution of the manufacturing means is very seldom using the process used in the factory. In the same way, there should be a process to amend the definitions of the categories. This process is not the dialectical process. Once the definitions given, the categories are static. There are categories, it is true, which are so simple that the problem of definition does not arise. Thus the categories of time and space are not a problem. For complex concepts such as social and economic categories, the definitions are complex and the criteria are numerous. Then, categories are required by the three laws of dialectics to interpenetrate, to struggle and, finally, to let emerge a new category, which, curiously, happens to be for Marx one of those in opposition. The other should disappear. It can be clearly seen for the class struggle. The struggle between the bourgeoisie and the nobility should not lead to a new class, but to the elimination of the nobility. Similarly, the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie should lead, according to Marx, to the elimination of the bourgeoisie. By a pun, Marx argues that the ultimate struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will lead after the elimination of the bourgeoisie to a classless Society. The logic of this argument escapes me somewhat. The proletariat is still there. But the proletariat is a category, a class. Such a monad is contrary to the dialectic.
Ultimate! Marx brings the absolute in perceptible things! What is ultimate is without becoming, definitive, complete, definitely identical to itself. The final category is the absolute in itself. Marxists will have to explain how they combine this universal with the assertion that everything is becoming. The categories are fixed by their definition, but, worse, the ultimate category of the dialectical approach, which they call a universal, is not only fixed by its definition, but will never have to struggle because it is the definitive achievement of the struggle. The Society is therefore completely fixed, frozen, petrified. It is very disturbing for a philosophical doctrine, which claim to explain the becoming of all thoughts, for Hegel, and the becoming of all things, for Marx.
The tragedy for dialectician is that the change of definitions disrupts the content of the categories. The becoming could be radically changed or even completely opposite. The impoverishment of the proletariat arises from a wrong definition. This foundation of the marxist dialectic was buried by recent thinkers like Bourdieu. The basic phase of determining the categories has been replaced by the determination of the multidimensional social space on the basis of investigations in situ and habitus of each component of the Society. This social space is not considered as frozen. To the contrary, it evolves. The social space shall strive to cope as much as possible, with the social context not only real, but local. The analysis of Bourdieu does not claim to be able to give a universal result. If the method is considered by its inventor as the “universal model, the first and last reality”, it shall be applied locally, I mean in each country. The habitus are mostly local. The second phase of the dialectical approach is to look for categories that opposed one another. The Bourdieu’s method is dialectical at this level. The method of Bourdieu proposes regrouping of social components, with variable surfaces. He therefore opposes the resulting groups one another, exactly as classes. But inevitably, Bourdieu had to introduce criteria for grouping. It falls into the classic dialectical frame. It had only introduced wise preliminary precautions. The system of Bourdieu encounters the same difficulty as that of Marx, with a new vocabulary. He talks of struggle of dominated against dominants instead of proletariat against bourgeoisie. He has a slight advantage. In a marxist Society, the Bourdieu’s method still applies. He explains the struggle of the dominating Nomenclatura against the dominated proletariat.
Knowledge of History is essentially evolving as are the famous Weber’s habitus, copied-pasted by Bourdieu. Their definitions are essentially evolutionary. Marx was trapped in the categories capital, value and surplus value, to be led to assertions contrary to fact, contrary to objective evidence. There are many examples in the Capital. The rigidity of the categories of capital is the source of all sorts of difficulties. Throughout the Book 3 of Capital, it seems that Marx is trying to convince himself of his own mistakes. He is led to incredible intellectual contortions to maintain the opposition between constant capital category and variable capital category.
Adam Smith has also defined categories: pensions, wages and profits. But the categories of Adam Smith are not the result of a dialectical approach. His categories are not static. He assumed also two categories of capital: fixed capital and circulating capital. But there is no barrier between these categories as Marx put between his categories. The fixed capital of Adam Smith is made up of pensions, wages and profits, of margins as we say today. For Marx, it is impossible the fixed capital category may contain a component from the variable capital category. There would be values going from one category to another, which is impossible under the rules of dialectical materialism.
I will reason like an accountant, not worrying about colour, I mean about the category of sums that measures the different components of the value of a commodity. Adam Smith developed his theory of value on this basis. Here is a buyer of a manufactured product. He pays the selling price including the purchase price of the retailer to the manufacturer and the retailer margin. Limit us to this simple case. Children know that. The retailer himself has paid the manufacturer the overall cost of production plus his own margin. Among the manufacturer’s costs are labour costs and the share of raw materials, including possible loss of material. In addition, it is necessary to add the share of wear of machines, whose cost is the constant capital of Marx, and expenditures of the company, in research, as well as in management, which, curiously, are not entering in the categories of Marx: these are incidentals expenses. Finally, a shame, we shall add the share of the famous ground-rent because the plant of the manufacturer is not built in nowhere. Adam Smith then divided each of these sums in the same manner, until it had nothing else than raw material, wages and margins. Indeed, the value of machinery, which falls under the category of constant capital, is not something other than raw materials, wages and margins. Gradually going up in the value, we come inevitably to raw material, wages and margins. As for the raw material, it should be drawn from the mine. It needs men and machines. We should theoretically go up indefinitely. The raw materials needed to manufacture the extraction machinery were taken from the Earth sometimes a very long time before the material used to manufacture the goods of our buyer. Little by little we come to times when the extraction was manual and the value of the raw material was restricted to wages and margins. And at the time of Marx, there was not much to go back, even less at the time of Adam Smith. Each stage of production adds a bit of raw material to wages and margins. The same goes for buildings whose construction cost is made of raw materials, wages and margins.
We come finally to the plots of land. The leasing leads to incidental expenses according to Marx such as invoicing and so on, that is wages and margin. I will come back on this margin. Adam Smith, after this laborious decomposition, adds all wages paid by each entity involved successively throughout the production. He finally finds only wages and margins.
This result is absurd for Marx. Its dialectical system forbid to add wages and surplus value of the manufacturer of final goods to the wages and surplus value from the manufacturer of machines used by the final manufacturer. For the final manufacturer, the machines are constant capital and wages are variable capital. For the manufacturer of machinery, its own machines are constant capital and wages are variable capital. Marx can not accept to add the wages paid by the machine manufacturer to wages paid by the final manufacturer. Once the machine is sold to the final manufacturer, its value passes in the category of constant capital as stated by the dialectical process of capitalistic production. You can no longer dialectically speaking, go back on the wages paid to manufacture the machine. The process is over. The values are “free from their old form” which has disappeared. It is dialectically impossible to return to that old form. The dialectical process is constantly renewed. It does not come back on himself, because otherwise the very idea of becoming would become absurd. It would be impossible to explain the surplus value. I recall that Marx based his reasoning on an equal proportion between labour and surplus labour between wages and the capitalistic surplus value. In my opinion, it is extremely low if one takes into account the incidental expenses. For Marx, any thing not physically entering within the goods is only incidental expense: a strong and beautiful packaging, what does that mean! The taxes are also incidental expenses! States are living on incidental expenses!
It is true that business taxes did not exist at the time of Adam Smith. Social costs were far from reaching the pharaonic amounts of our time! In the logic of Adam Smith, taxes and social charges shall correspond to wages as long as the decomposition that we have done is completed. Taxes are used to pay civil servants and to renew the means they need. You have to pay the soldiers and their equipment: the decomposition is the same as for the expenses of a company. Ultimately you find only wages.
Marxist categories fixed by the definitions of Marx have no meaning for a long time. The Marx’ categories of values are meaningless. The categories of Adam Smith are not very useful either! His decomposition is certainly correct. Apart from ruining a posteriori the marxist arguments, I do not see much interest. Moreover, analyses of costs are no longer undertaken according to categories, but to expenditure breakdown by items, which is much more useful to seek for priority. This dynamic view is much more useful than the marxist dialectic.
The dynamic aspect of opposition of categories gives the illusion of movement. The real movement, the only movement useful for economy and politics is the decomposition of costs. One might say, if one wishes to retain the idea of categories, the only useful activity is to determine their creation, evolution, renewal, in relation to the evolution of means of production and communication, which is exactly the opposite position from that of Marx. Moreover, the relationship between categories is not limited to oppositions. The categories are much more complementary than opposed. Diversity is a basic rule of existence. This idea that the categories shall oppose one another and that one shall overcome the other and destroy it, is a totalitarian vision aimed at reducing all forms of diversity, of difference, of distinction. It was basically the brainchild of Bourdieu, the very foundation of his system.
We shall recognise that Adam Smith did not justify the margin taken at each level. I have no theory of the margin. The decomposition of Adam Smith is full of common sense. Once again, this decomposition is impossible for Marx. It leads to add at each stage of the manufacturing of goods, amounts that fall for the capitalist of each level, to different categories of capital: constant capital and variable capital. However, according to Marx, only the variable capital may produce a surplus value. It is strictly forbidden by the dialectic to add amounts that are not in the same category, nor that we can not add carrots and cabbages, except for the housewife who wants to make soup. Apparently, the Marxists know only the omelet: one shall break eggs et coetera. They do not know the soup. It is surprising that on page 335 of Book 3 Marx accuses Adam Smith of mixing categories. Adam Smith is not dialectician: “This is the bourgeois cretinism in its happiness.” Under the same dialectical requirement, Marx condemns Destutt de Tracy when he says, with what appears to us today a robust common sense: “the profits of entrepreneurs result from selling everything they produce dearer than it does cost them to produce...” The aim of the dialectical method of Marx is to demonstrate that the profits of capitalists result exclusively from surplus labour. And the dialectical method enforces him to carefully separate the categories in order to obtain this result. A passage from Capital expresses with a perfect clarity, the key aspect of categories in the dialectic. Marx wrote in chapter 33 of the first volume, page 560: “We know that the means of production and subsistence, while they remain the property of the immediate producer, are not capital. They become capital only under circumstances in which they serve at the same time as means of exploitation and subjection of the workers.”
If Marx is wrong, then what is the origin of the surplus value? I do not know, and I do not think this is a critical issue. The Communists have applied the theories of Marx in many countries without having calculated the famous surplus value, as aptly noticed by Raymond Aron. The Marxists’ behaviour does not seem that scientific. There are within economy some aspects likely to be calculated, but there are also problems that have neither the slightest relation with mathematics, nor even with science. The most important aspect of economy is confidence. This is a very major psychological factor, and yet totally absent from the work of Marx. The economy is also subject to a number of conditions. The main conditions are neither relevant to mathematical treatment nor even to science in the broadest meaning.
Why not return to Physiocrats, to Quesnay? The doctrine of Quesnay led Turgot to propose measures that would have prevent the French Revolutionary Terror. These measures were taken in 1789; it was far too late. All was not wrong in Physiocrats. Free competition and free trade that characterise liberalism appeared later on in Adam Smith, and nobody disputes today their necessity for the development of nations. Similarly, the idea that the accumulation of gold and silver does not constitute a measure of the wealth of States is so profound a truth that nobody imagines that we can return to the convertibility of paper currency. The most surprising, indeed, is that Marx considered exchanges on the basis of gold and silver. This vision was completely out of date, already in his time. At the very least, he did not advance the questions of currencies, yet so vital for economy. One can even say that he has not properly analysed the situation because he used only outdated bibliographical references.
I think the Adam Smith theses remain the only valid. Quesnay deducted free competition and free trade from its assumption of the value of goods. His logic escapes me. For Quesnay, the product of land is the main source of value. It would come from natural increase of harvest compared to sowing.
It was not absurd. The contribution of Nature to agriculture comes from solar energy essentially. If you generalise this idea to all forms of energy, you get the idea that water, wind, coal, oil, nuclear power are the condition of all values.
There is something true in the physiocrats’ system, the theory of Quesnay. I believe that the disposal of energy is a prerequisite for economic development. The position of Adam Smith has the big advantage of being perfectly logical, Cartesian if I may say so. One can see, moreover, a limit. Not everything is logical in the real economy. The thesis of Adam Smith is that human labour is the real source of value. Marx took up this argument by supplementing it by his hypothesis on the surplus value. The work is calculated on the basis of time spent by the employee. This quantity is measurable. One can calculate a value by methods of physics. Adam Smith adds profit to calculate the value, when Marx adds a share of surplus labour reflecting the surplus value. But nothing works. This surplus labour and thus the surplus value is not calculable. Adam Smith believed that the profit is established by the competition. He did not need calculate it.
Habermas in his critique of Stalinist marxism, wrote that “the scientific and technical progress has become an independent source of surplus value” that would continually reduce the profit drawn from the labour force as defined by Marx. Prior to being a source of surplus value, progress should be first a source of value. But, progress can not in any way produce value by itself. Progress is another condition for obtaining value. As for surplus value, it is only possible when new more effective production means are protected from competition. The ownership of patents, copyrights for software in particular, is the only source of surplus value.
Scientific and technological progress and the disposal of energy sources are conditions for obtaining value. Property rights are the exclusive source of surplus value. Without such rights, free competition erodes margins without delay. Indeed, this is a category ignored by the Marxists. Liberalism requires free competition. What is liberalism? Why Marxists absolutely reject the idea that liberalism could be a category? I believe I understand. If liberalism were a category, its followers would come between capitalists and proletarians. The categories “bourgeois” and “proletariat” could no longer run full brunt. Liberalism controls the exchange of values with more and more stringent rules. It enforces freedom not only of trade, but also freedom of innovation in all its forms. It enforces the respect of the property of creation. But creation can be the source of surplus value only when it is protected. Liberalism is essentially a set of rules. It is the means of capitalism regulation. Free trade, that Marx saw as an accelerator of the internal contradictions of capitalism, is just one aspect, a rule of liberalism. The category “liberalism” is absolutely impossible in the dialectics of Marx. It would intervene between two groups struggling as white knights in the planned mergers of companies. At the time of the final struggle, we would see a sort of Mazarin coming on his horse white with foam, between the armies in battle line, ready to fire. Mazarin, then legate of the pope, waved out the peace treaty signed a few hours earlier and ending the struggle. Much worse, the dialectical point leaves no room for this kind of confrontation between three categories. One against another, this is the rule of dialectical annihilation of one or of the other or of both as well.
The fact remains that energy enters the calculation of the value in another way than by human work that requires its disposal. Energy is a prerequisite for the use of human labour. Energy is a condition of obtaining value. Quesnay’s theory does not explain the value. It gives only a condition for the existence of value and thus of the surplus value. The value itself results from human labour as stated by Adam Smith.
Marx also said that the energy available in Nature does not fall in the value of goods, since the value can only come from the exploitation of the proletariat.
wanted only to consider the aspects he assumed to be scientific. He wanted to
do in economics what
The definition of the category “capital” of the marxist dialectic is in total contradiction to the etymology; capital comes from “cheptel”, livestock. The marxist dialectic is inconsistent with the constant use of the word. Philosophers have always the art of defining words in a way that is specific. They shall clearly define what they are talking about. They need words precise enough to give a minimum of rigor in their discourses. It shall be said that words often have a hazy and changing content. The best advised create new words when they really need a word to express a very specific concept.
Capital Marx remains totally obscure if you do not know that his vocabulary is fully structured into categories. The difficulty is strengthened by the fact that Marx did not use new words to describe its most important categories. He took usual words. However, all his categories result from definitions that differ completely from common usage. His deductions can not be understood by the uninitiated. The difficulty may be overcome. What can not be overcome, what is unbearable, is to pretend to be entitled to show the becoming of all things using definitions, fixed once and for all. There is not in the Marx system any kind of dialectical definitions of categories and there are no rules to define the becoming of definitions. There is only statements of experts, assumption of oracles. The categories of Marx are not only absolute, they are arbitrary. No Marxist has questioned this nominalist approach.
The communist leader Garaudy still wrote in 1961 “set the value of a good by the time socially necessary for its production and not by the series of its monetary equivalent in the market, it is going beyond appearances and to discover the essence”. If the value is first defined, how can we infer something that could change the definition? The definitions of the categories are initially set by the expert, by the oracle: the Marxist. What can produce the critics, the analysis, the dialectic, or any approach whatever, that does not meet the definitions? Wrong consequences, without doubt, and they are many. But it is impossible to draw from the definition a different definition. However, Marxists are seeking the consequences of the definitions of categories through their dialectical system. Their goal is to put the categories in opposition one another. They do not worry about the arbitrary nature of the definition of their categories.
The drama is complete because the choice of categories, which should oppose one another, is arbitrary. The second stage of the dialectical process places finally the dialectician on the orbit of becoming, according to the three divine Hegelian laws. This second stage is powered by the same fuel as the first. Again, we find the statements of experts, the decision of the wise, the intuition of the seer, the oracle of the mage. The dialectician postulates. He claims to rely on reality, on praxis, but on his own view of reality and praxis. Reality and praxis he believes he perceives in the appearances of things. Incidentally, you would have noticed that the definition of the value as “the series of its monetary equivalent in the market,” referred to by Garaudy, is precisely that of Adam Smith.
However, the praxis, two centuries later, gives reason to Adam Smith against the catastrophic predictions of Marx. The facts are there and the facts are stubborn to talk about like Marxists. They agitate categories in every direction, like puppets. They give the illusion of movement, the illusion of change. They claim they give the cause of the movement: the dialectic. But the artist holds the strings and the manikin. It postulates definitions and oppositions. Why not, if it works, said the scientist. But nothing works. To counter Zénon of Elee and his arrow that flies and does not fly, Diogenes claimed to show movement by walking. Diogenes was moving when lying in his barrel, as well. The Earth rotates. All things are in motion, always. Marx shows the movement of its categories in dialectical struggles. But he is behind with its definitions. Change the definitions, you spill the joker. You can not claim to explain the change, the movement, the becoming by the permanent, by the motionless, by the fixed.
The implementation of his dialectical method led Marx to his concept of impoverishment, a monstrous mistake. Mechanisation leads to an increase in the proportion of constant capital relative to variable capital, in the value of goods. Mechanisation reduced the number of jobs, so the payroll of enterprises. It should be noted that, on average, in the capitalistic enterprises, the share of variable capital declines. Since this variable capital is, according to Marx, the exclusive source of surplus value, its decline results in an overall decline in the rate of profit. The capitalist will fire proletarians to restore its margins. Overall, these proletarians are going to increase the mass of the lumpen-proletariat. That’s the too famous impoverishment, certainly somewhat simplified.
It takes nearly 300 pages of the Capital to justify these awful consequences of capitalism. But the machines themselves have a value that contains wages and margins, if you go back to raw materials. What is lost by the machine user comes back to the manufacturer of machines. These machines can be computer software. The number of jobs, lost by the user, is found in the manufacturer of machines. As we have seen, the dialectical materialism forbid to go up from the value of the machine to the wages paid to produce it. The full locking of categories is absolutely prohibiting transfers of value between categories. What Adam Smith allowed the poor! Of course, the theory of Adam Smith does not lead to impoverishment of the proletariat. On the contrary, Adam Smith has foreseen an indefinite and general improvement in living standards.
Adam Smith has, however, also anticipated a reduction in profit. Competition erodes margins. But he had seen that this erosion occurs only by kind of business, in similar conditions. Once an innovation gives an advantage to one player or once a capitalist launches in a new kind of business, then attractive profit rate resume and the process renews. It is very far from the marxist catastrophism. It is far from a general decline and indefinite of that surplus value.
the same way, Marx claimed he explains by his dialectical system, an increase
of the mass of proletarians found in his time, especially in
Incidentally, another historical mistake of Marx should be noted, perhaps less dramatic. It offers remission to proletarians. Before falling into poverty, they will swell the number of domestic workers that those shame capitalists employ for their comfort and pleasure.
is what Marx wrote: “Lastly, the extraordinary productiveness of modern industry,
accompanied as it is by both a more extensive and a more intense exploitation
of labour-power in all other spheres of production, allows of the unproductive
employment of a larger and larger part of the working-class, and the consequent
reproduction, on a constantly extending scale, of the ancient servant slaves
under the name of a servant class, including men-servants, women-servants,
lackeys, &c.” (Vol 1 Chap XV p 317). However,
the fact is known for a long time now: domesticity has decline continuously.
Technological advances have resulted from the seventeenth century in reducing
the number of servants. Water distribution is the most striking example. All household
chores were simplified with the industrial development. At the end of the
eighteenth century, a large house in
There is another joke of this kind in the Capital. It is not the result of the dialectic. It’s just a dramatic lack of knowledge of the reality of the industry: page 228, Vol 1, Chap XI Marx wrote: “Blast-furnaces (the original text refers specifically to blast furnaces. This word “blast” has been removed from the text available in Internet!!!) and workshops that stand idle by night, and absorb no living labour, are “a mere loss” to the capitalist. Hence, blast-furnaces and workshops constitute lawful claims upon the night labour of the workers” and Marx returned several times. Do not stopping the blast furnaces at night, what a scandal! These capitalists are really ready to anything to extract this shameful surplus value!
The starting point of the land rent is the value of the land. The reference of Marx is the farmland. The surplus value that can be drawn using a farmland is the basis of the estimated profit that the owner will require when renting his land to industrial capitalists. It is also the basis of its sale price. Marx states: “One should think that if all the unpaid labour put into the soil and converted into money by the landowner and capitalist is totalled up, all the capital ever invested in this soil has been paid back over and over again with usurious interest, so that Society has long ago redeemed landed property over and over again”. According to Marx, the land belongs de facto to the State. It should be noted that the part of constant capital corresponding to the price of land is never included in the value of goods produced. They keep their full value over time. This is partially true for buildings that may be resold. There is thus another category of capital, which was not foreseen by Marx.
The question is whether Marx proposed a scientific analysis of the capitalist system or whether it has sought moral arguments to attack! Land rent practice is probably as old as man. It is integrated into the capitalistic system. One can not pretend to analyse a system, show the future and predicting its demise, without taking into account all the factors that determine precisely its evolution. The today economy is dependent on the cost of oil, which is nothing else than a land rent paid to the owners of wells. Evacuate the question of land rent, as did Marx, did not seem serious.
My objective is to show that the dialectical system is not universal and is unable to explain the most known facts and even worse that the dialectic system is contrary to facts, contrary to reality. Personally, I see no difference between the profit which the owner of a shop draw from sales, the profit that results from the inventor’s patent and the profit that a company draws from the ownership of its capital. The theory of surplus value of Marx is absurd.
The capitalist calculates the price to be drawn from the sale of a product in order to have a profit and not from any kind of surplus labour to be required from the worker. The calculation of the surplus value is impossible. The capitalist never knows the minimum necessary for the worker to maintain its labour force. In liberal countries, so-called capitalist, the worker is always paid well above the minimum subsistence level. Marx is very clear on that. The wage of the proletarian he needs to maintain its labour force is in no way a minimum. The proletarian is entitled to entertainment and to some luxury. I do not remember that position by irony. It is my deep conviction. This makes the marxist surplus value incalculable. It is subjective.
In addition, almost all of the value of goods, commodities and services, today is mainly a result of what Marx called incidental expenses. I have already mentioned several examples. Here is another. The selling price of most goods is calculated so that to amortise development costs on series estimated in advance. It is far from lucubration based upon the sickle and the hammer. One can, if really needed, assign a value to the analysis of Marx: he analysed the conditions of the end of life of a product line, by competition and by lowering of margins. Pretending to infer the History and future of humanity on a basis of such a dopey analysis, is as wise as trying to explain thinking by dreams, consciousness by unconsciousness, to try to explain life through death, Nature by naught!
It would look surprising that I questioned the dialectical materialism doctrine beginning by its categories and its definitions. Dialectical treaties are based upon the Dialectics of Nature of Engels. He states in this book the three laws of dialectics. The first law is the transformation from quantity to quality and vice versa. The second is the interpenetration of opposites; it is the law of the unity. The third is the negation of negation; it expresses the notion of development. These three laws were first laid down by Hegel in his Logic. For Hegel, these laws are those of the development of thought. His other major work, The Phenomenology of Spirit, is the implementation of these laws to the history of thought. For Marx and Engels, there are the laws of Nature. They also apply to thought, because they apply to everything in Nature. These are the laws of dialectical materialism.
In fact, the determination of the categories is the basis of the dialectical approach, for Hegel as well as for Marx. The categories are postulated for the application of the laws of the dialectic. They are prerequisites to implement these laws. Setting concepts of thinking in categories has been mainly the work of Kant. It already appears in Spinoza and Leibniz, and it can be traced far beyond, to Aristotle. This continuity is the chronology of the phenomenology of spirit. It seemed so natural to Hegel, and even more to Marx and Engels, they never thought it necessary to criticise or even to justify this purely nominalist approach of philosophy. Nominalism is to believe that things are known only by being named. This is not a very new approach. It is in Genesis: God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.”
Socrates raised an objection to the nominalist approach: something “little” is “big” compared to something smaller. There is nothing “small” in itself. There are neither any “big” thing in itself. All the dialogues of Plato, with the exception of The Sophist whose objective is not the same, show that no perception, no subject in the experimental world, could have an absolute determination. The category of “small” things only contains “big” things compared to the smallest thing included in their category. Additionally does this smallest thing existing absolutely? I showed that the petrified categories of Marx have no value, both in terms of History and in the present standpoint. All consequences that Marx drawn from his categories and their oppositions are ultimately false because the objects, the beings and the phenomena belonging to the experimental world can not, in any way, be enclosed in absolute, definitive and invariable definitions.
When categories have been defined, the next step of the dialectical approach is to discover the contradictions between categories. The fundamental postulate of the dialectic is that the categories always opposed to one another. Each category should have an opposite category. It is a generalised Manichean view of the world.
The three laws of the dialectic of Hegel and Engels are the laws that govern the opposition between the categories. I showed that the categories are determined arbitrarily by the experts of the dialectical doctrine. I will show now that the search for contradictions between categories is even more arbitrary. You will forgive me not to consider first whether the famous three laws that govern the opposition between the categories are really justified. These are the rules of the game. Distribute the categories, gather by team and play as you like to dialectical materialism, according to the rules. It’s very fun. You will see first bourgeois deliberately assassinated, generals and officers begging, popes scratching the floor of their prison, hoping to find their food. Then you will see Kronstadt, the original sin of Trotskyism: a revolt of unemployed proletarian and landed sailors crushed in blood by the Bolsheviks of Trotsky. You will then see men dying by tens of millions in the Gulag, exhausted by hard labour in the Arctic harshness or in the desert heat.
You do not want to play any more? I understand you. This game is a trap. The player is the victim. I saw the goal of the game: destroy the spirit. These are not the rules that are involved, but the game itself. The game is to define categories and to oppose them to one another. But the dices are loaded. The categories are only expert statements. Contradictions between categories are only hateful phantasms.
One would have thought that the snake swallowed, it remains only to be comfortable with the dialectical doctrine, if not towards singing tomorrows, nobody believes that anymore, at least towards a better knowledge of things. Marx was perhaps only wrong in the definitions of his categories. Set others. Therefore, everything will work out. The opposition of categories, second phase of the dialectical method, will finally reveal the true becoming of humanity and of all things. Ah! The snake won’t go down! It is embarrassing to have to predict the future using definitions, new perhaps, but not less rigid and arbitrary than those of Marx. The slightest change in our definitions might require us to change all our forecasts.
But, the worst is to come. After having swallowed a snake, a boa is for food. To be prepared for a terrible indigestion, let me offer a few snacks. Here to begin the identification of categories that are to oppose is not based upon any criteria. Listen to the oracle! Listen ignorant, the Marxist is speaking. Who has the science? The Marxist. Where is science coming from? Reading the works of Marx and Engels.
The dialectic is based on the determination of contradictions between categories. It is the science of oppositions. There is no other science because everything is dialectical.
Having structured the world into categories, the dialectician materialist needs to match the opposing categories. The task is simple for algebra, on one side negative numbers, on the other the positive. Where is zero, which is neither positive nor negative? Not too many problems in physics as well. Everything is based upon algebra. The work is chewed. On the one hand the positive ions, on the other hand, the negative ions. On the one hand, the negative charges on the other hand, the positive charges. Clearly, zero haunts us. What about the neutrons? Everything, according to Engels, will be resolved within two contrary categories of attraction and repulsion. In biology, things are a little more complex. Engels opposed heredity to adaptation. If the adaptation may be conceived as a struggle within the frame of Darwinism, this is not the same for heredity. Lyssenko precipitated dialectical materialism in an abyss. This famous Soviet agronomist refused to admit chromosomal heredity, already recognised world-wide. For a Marxist, it was mandatory that heredity follows a dialectical process, with interpenetration of opposites and tutti quanti. In particular, an accumulation is necessary to justify a qualitative leap, under the famous law of dialectical transformation from quantity to quality and vice versa. Soviet conclusion: chromosomal heredity is a class concept, that is a capitalist, anti-Soviet and reactionary idealistic theory. Lyssenko invented false qualitative leaps to convince. Do not see this as a victory of an admirer of Stalin. Khrushchev, in good dialectician, could only follow Lyssenko. He never destalinised the sovietic biology. Finally, the difficulty becomes insurmountable for economic categories and especially for social categories. Nobody will deny any more the complexity of these categories. For the Marxist all is very simple. Everything is summed up in the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie and will end with the victory of the proletariat and the communist classless Society. Period.
first problem is that the determination of the categories, the struggling
classes, is quite arbitrary. A social state, at a given time, can never be
reduced to the opposition between two classes only. Marxists base their
statements on the study of History. But what they remember of History does not
conform to facts. The idea that the Ancient Regime was characterised by a
struggle between the bourgeoisie and nobility is a mental aberration. Both
alleged classes were only one very single part of Society in all respects, with
the sole exception of the tax exemption. They shared power, and, without doubt,
as they held the parliaments, the bourgeois had more powers than the nobility.
In addition, the two alleged classes were far from being homogeneous. The high
this is very simple compared to the caste system of
The debtor is the opposite of the creditor. The Marxist has no other criteria than economical. Dialectical materialism reduces all relations between the social categories to conflicting class interests. It is a binary process. Dialectical materialism considers only the struggle of one class against the opposite class. For him, the other components of the Society do not exist objectively. But tell me, now, where the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are coming from? From the viewpoint of dialectical materialism, both classes must themselves be derived from a struggling process between social categories. If History is a class struggle, what are the classes that were opposed to form, by leap, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat? The bourgeoisie would have emerged victorious from his fight against the nobility. The proletariat would come from the struggle between creditors and debtors. Indebted peasants and artisans were ruined by their creditors. They formed the basis of the proletariat. Hence where these new emerging categories, creditors and debtors, are coming from? Would there have been four classes under the Ancient Regime: the nobility, the bourgeoisie, the creditors and the debtors?
The creditors would have been mostly noble landowners. They would have been as well Bourgeois merchants who have ruined artisans. Debtors would be farmers and artisans crushed by debts and by the many taxes levied to support the privileged. I lose my dialectic. How could we consider oppositions between two categories struggling against one another, if these categories are composed of elements that may belong to other categories, which are struggling at the same time against one another? Marx strictly separated his categories. Now, one might belong simultaneously to two categories, themselves struggling with their respective opposite categories! Nobles and bourgeois, belonging to two classes in struggle against one another, are simultaneously hand in hand in the category of creditors struggling against debtors! There was also bourgeois and nobles among the debtors. Ruined what happens to them? They went to swell the ranks of the proletariat, filled with resentment for the voracious creditors.
This raises another question: opposites are similar or different in nature? The categories have in common that all belong to the material reality. The categories have at least one aspect by which they are not opposed to one another; they all belong to the physical reality. But they can not oppose by what they have in common, by what they share. They can not oppose by all the aspects they have in common. For example, the bourgeois and the proletarians are men. They do not oppose on this common point to be men, but on other aspects. The two categories are living on the Earth and we can find so many common aspects on which there can not be any opposition. The opposition between the categories may only exist about what they have not in common, about what they do not share.
The proletarian is opposed to the capitalist. The capitalist owns the means of production and exploits the proletarian. The proletarian has only his labour, the bourgeois capitalist owns the means of production which enable him to fatten and sleep through keeping the toiling proletarian.
Marx identifies several aspects in which the proletariat is opposed to the bourgeois. I summarise: the ownership of the means of production, the ownership of the labour force, the exploitation of one by another. Thus, the categories have many aspects and they are in opposition for some of these aspects, although they are not for other aspects.
This struggle can not focus on what these classes have in common. They can only fight for what is different between them. But how the dialectic enables to identify the issues about which categories should oppose?
serfs were exploited by the nobles although they owned the tools,
that is the means of production. The subjects were exploited by their
lord, although they owned the land, their homes and the tools. Conversely, in
Praxis can operate in no way a sort neither between objects belonging to the experimental world nor between their determinations. It is an essentially intellectual activity. The objects belonging to the experimental world appear all mixed together. Nature has neither filters nor screens from which categories would emerge ready for use. Nature does not identify categories to be opposed. This is the man who makes this sort by its spirit.
Objects and beings that the Marxists place in their categories are realities. The categories are sets of objects that meet a definition. Sets exist only in spirit. For instance, the number three does not exist in nature. We can see three bourgeois and three proletarians, but nothing is three in itself. This is the huge debate which opens today again. What is materialism, and realism as well?
I do not understand yet how is made the choice of categories that are to be opposed. Praxis shows an infinite number of causes of struggles between men, why should we maintain the only criterion of ownership of the means of production? What to do with the other determinations of objects belonging to opposed categories. They can complement as well as oppose even in a more radical way than by the possession of means of production.
We realize today that Islam wears in itself a source of fights infinitely more violent than those that we knew.
Marxists argue that the determinations of categories of objects, which do not oppose or oppose for other reasons have no interest in the reality of dialectical materialism. I see the beginnings of a petition of principle. Marx is a genius because he discovered marxism.
am also somehow disturbed by the postulated end of the class struggles. Marx
tells us that “The class-struggles of the ancient world took the form chiefly
of a contest between debtors and creditors, which in
The Renaissance and the Reformation saw the bourgeoisie emerging. This would have been the beginning of the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the nobility. With the French Revolution, the bourgeoisie would have won, although the English Revolution of the sixteenth century has already led to the very same result. This was not in the order of things, the marxist order of course, the English bourgeoisie was not capitalist. It was predominantly rural.
came the final struggle between the proletariat and
the bourgeoisie. Again, the dominated should prevail. Lack of chance, the
bourgeoisie is more numerous today, the bourgeoisie is richer,
the bourgeoisie is more powerful, I was going to say also more intelligent,
than ever. Where is the proletariat? The vision of the historic materialism,
the marxist vision of the
History of the humanity, comes up against two difficulties. The first one is an
absence of consistency between the various phases. This is normally a critical
flaw for a scientific theory. We would generally accept a permanent struggle
between dominant and dominated, between oppressors and oppressed. However, the
struggle between the nobility and the bourgeoisie is not of this nature. The
nobility has not oppressed the bourgeoisie. Traditionally, advisers of the
greatest princes have always been chosen among the bourgeoisie whether by Philippe-Auguste, Louis VII, Louis XI, Louis XIV. There are few
exceptions for instance with Louis XIII who had chosen Armand du Plessis, future duke of
Richelieu and cardinal, born of the provincial gentry. But
The second inconsistency of that vision is the outcome of the struggle. Sometimes, the dominant wins, sometimes the dominated, but Marx does not give the slightest justification. Indeed, Engels wrote in the Dialectics of Nature that “the opposition of opposites, by their conflict and their final transformation into one another or into higher forms” are the movement of nature itself. Why sometimes “in one another” and sometimes “in higher forms”? Why did he also write: “The elements that are involved in the dialectical process are not only distinguished, they are denied by one another, linked in the context of a conflict. The dialectical process requires that the negation is destruction”. If they are linked to one another, how could the link dissolves? If they are denied by one another, how to claim that the denial disappears in favour of one of them? Why should they disappear in some cases only? Why, in other cases, a new element must emerge? Who distinguishes the case? Astrology? Numerology? Worse yet, if all is matter in the marxist sense, including the becoming, how these material elements could they be destroyed? How could they disappear? They would continue existing only in mind, in memory. For Marx and Engels, ideas are only images of things. Of what things these ideas would they be images? They exist only in spirit. Would they be their own image? Are there eyes in the brain to see these kinds of things?
Why the proletariat should prevail? Praxis is it infallible? If the Marxist is wrong on the praxis, how will he go back? He was wrong. The facts are there to show that, ultimately, the bourgeoisie wins. Can he resuscitate the bourgeois assassinated? Of course, the bourgeoisie has changed its form. It has the capital. But the enormity of the capital invested in industry and trade are such that the capital is now divided. The bourgeoisie has the capital, but the power is shared. It is exerted by an intermediary: the management.
At the same time, the proletariat, as defined by Marxists, has virtually disappeared from industrialised societies. The present social structure is constituted of four classes. There is a capitalist class, persistence of the old capitalist bourgeoisie, but with entirely new members. A ruling class issue directly by promotion from the middle class: the employers and executives of companies. A middle class of managers and technicians, which could be in fact divided into two classes. The expectations and ways of action are not the same for intermediary and for subordinate managers. Finally, a class of employees, including the few remaining proletarians occupied in tasks that can not yet be mechanised, mainly in building transport, hotel and restoration.
This structure is complex. I think it follows the changing of means of communication and transport. But it also results from the explosion of the costs of designing products and services. The products are less and less material, more and more intellectuals and even purely intellectual as for computer softwares. The work is seldom physical. The costs are no longer conditioned by the labour force in the proper sense, but by the costs of product development. The selling price is estimated on the basis of the hope of selling series estimated by various means such as marketing. If the Marxists have adapted their models to these developments, they have never challenged their idea of class struggle. They changed the definition of categories, the content of class, not the finality. The dominated must always prevail on the dominant and lead humanity to its final destiny: a Society without classes, without dominant.
One wonders also why classless. This is not included in the historical sequence of previous struggles. Why, to this account, the serfs did not they won? Why the so-called struggle of the bourgeoisie against the nobility has not ended with the final and definitive victory of the bourgeoisie? Why the bourgeoisie, ultimately victorious, does not rule exclusively and permanently? Why is it not a universal? Why did it split into at least two levels and why a new class appeared under his power? So many questions to which the Marxist does not provide any answer. He does not even ask the questions. He still believes in the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. Note that if this was not his strong conviction, his faith, he will be no longer a Marxist. For Marxists: History always give birth to what it bears within it, despite the accidents, the events unexpected, the hazards that change the course of events. History would bear the marxism in itself.
to the sources of the
Arbitrariness is not only in determining the categories. It governs the choice of opposing categories. It determines the choice of opposing aspects within these categories opposite. Finally, it presides on the end of the struggle between these categories. There is even worse: the boa. I had forgotten that one. If you have read, it appears in the Engels’ text that I quoted. Read again: “the opposition of opposites, by their conflict and their final conversion into one another or into higher forms” are “the very movement of nature”. I reversed the Engels’ sentence for clarity. The meaning is not affected by this change. Look for the boa in these few words.
That word is “final”. The boa is the absolute aspect of completing the process in Hegel’s dialectic, taken by Marx to justify the final and definitive victory of the proletariat. When I read in I do not know what newspaper article, that the idea of end of History was an idea of Hegel and not of Marx, I thought I have to come back to Hegel to understand. Devil! We learn that everything is oppositions, struggles, and now a day, there would be no more opposition, no more struggles, no more classes. The class struggle is History. This fight should lead to communism, a classless Society, the final state of Society, which therefore would have no history. This is what was taught from the highest chairs of the highest professorships. Fortunately, Master Bourdieu came. We learned that there was a slight error in marxism. There is a continuation. Short, indeed, continuation anyway. Yes, the end of History is not that predicted by Marx. There is an additional cycle to pass: the struggle of dominant against dominated in all aspects of Bourdieu’s social space. The dominated will prevail, and then will come the true end of History: a Society without struggles, without dominants or dominated. It is scientific. The social space of Master Bourdieu is the “first and last reality” that would allow for foreseeing, mobilising and organising the social units to carry out the social struggles renewed until the final victory of the dominated, in all their aspects, political economic, social and cultural. We are promised to ongoing cycles of dominant elimination.
We can breathe deeply here. No, History is not yet over, as a few cultivated minds, certainly wrong, persisted in thinking. Nevertheless, the prospect is still unsatisfactory. The show that we are offered is hardly more attractive. This perpetual repetition of similar facts has something mechanical, even mineral. The reader of Plato, Descartes and the philosopher Alain as well, will have no difficulty in showing that the perpetual repetition of similar fact is the opposite of change. So that, Master Bourdieu has replaced the end of History by an absence of History. The progress is huge.
You shall swallow the boa after the snake.
The facts do not seem the same for all. It seems that there are real facts and false facts, as Engels distinguished good categories from wrong categories. The “simple” and the “compound”, for example, are, according to Engels, inappropriate categories. They may not be opposed against one another. They are not entitled to the dialectical process. I understand that the “compound” is, in itself, a qualitative leap, which follows the accumulation of “simple” things. Yet, this is one of the laws of dialectics. If I understand correctly, opposing the category “simple” to the category “compound” would eliminate that law of dialectics. The negation of negation, another fundamental law, would leave only one of these two categories, the “simple” or the “compound”, or even both by giving birth to a new category. There would be no transformation from quantity to quality, since there would not be any “simple” to be added to ”simple” to form either a quantity or a compound that would result of the addition.
I do not know what is allowing the Marxist to distinguish the real facts from the false facts. You could say that it is probably obvious. The true facts are those that conform to marxist predictions, since this theory would be the final state of thought and of human knowledge.
Master Bourdieu later claimed he have found an upper knowledge and this time really final. Hegel wrote the same thing long before Marx and Engels. The end seems so difficult to write that the end is without end.
As I have mercy on you, I will make you swallow the boa by pieces. Each end will have its tour. In return of this reduction of your present effort, it is likely that it will go on endlessly!
One does not read Hegel, deemed illegible. What a shame. The philosopher Alain did it. He treated the Hegelian dialectic as nominalism. It would have been enough for diverting me from it. But I did not understand, I admit, after reading the philosopher Alain, how precisely the approach of Hegel was nominalist. So I entered. I have indeed, not read all; far from that! Hegel examines all: thinking, culture, History, politics, art, religion. He discusses everything with his famous dialectic. I first tried to understand.
I am surprised to have to admit that the starting point is not so complex and is very close to the paradox of Zeno of Elea. Like Zeno, Hegel does not start from a pure abstraction, but from facts. The following two examples are taken from the Phenomenology of Spirit. I adapted a little.
I look at my watch. It is . It’s dark. The “now” of this observation is the night. When I awake, it is already daylight. The “now” of this new observation is the day. The truth of the day before: “Now is the night” is swept away, says Hegel. Yet both “now” are preserved as they has been perceived equally and effectively at their time. Moreover, and this is the foundation of the Hegelian dialectic, the merger of the day with the night, by their mutual negation, maintains the “now” as universal. The existence of this universal is independent of the day and of the non-day, night, and in general, of beings and non-beings that may be affected to. It was necessary to perceive the “now” as night and the “now” as day to have the universal “now”, independent, even absolute, emerging in the mind. The fusion of theses contraries is the “time” or, more exactly, the “instant”.
The second example is more difficult. Instead of taking the classic case of the arrow of Zeno, Hegel uses a motion of the observer. He suggested looking at a tree here. Then he turns round and “there” becomes a house. He means in the same place as the tree relative to him. Why this complication, which introduced the motion of the observer in the reasoning process and makes his step more complex? I think the choice of Hegel is voluntary. Should have he taken the example of a bird that moves and leads to two opposite determinations of the “here” fixed relative to the observer, he would have first to reject the space of Descartes as the existence in itself. He did so in his logic. Hegel could not start his Phenomenology with what results of it. We can also think that the motion of the observer that Hegel used allows a simpler comparison with the two “now” in the previous example. The observer did not remain stupidly motionless during the hours separating the two observations even while sleeping!
I have not such an obligation, so that I take the classic example of a bird flying. It is here. Should I keep my eyes in the same direction, it is no longer here a moment later. The perception of the ”here” affected by the presence of the bird, and of the “here” where the bird is not there any more, by the “being”, then by the “non-being”, allows the mind to conceptualise a universal. This universal is “space”, or more precisely the “place”.
The approach, illustrated by these two examples, forms the access of the spirit to the absolute from the sensitive perception. Hegel calls it the dialectic of the sense-certainty. It is only a first step, moreover easy.
The perception establishes a relationship between things and mind. This relationship is only of interest for thought, for conscious thought. I probably will never understand the next step of Hegel. He applies his famous dialectic of perception of things to the internal perception of consciousness. The ideas should oppose as the successive perceptions. I find strangely artificial this vision of the temporal opposition of perceptions. A fortiori, the opposition of the categories of mind, the ideas to speak like Plato, is of the fantasy. Time is one of these categories. How the categories could they succeed one another if the time is frozen in its own category? That is what I can not understand. I am even more reluctant than most of the consequences Hegel draws in science, mainly with regard to light and gravity, are wrong. Hegel’s theories are as false as those of Aristotle. An error may result of circumstances. Several failures imply the common mode, the common cause.
of the problems of Aristotle, if not a cause of error, comes from the
arbitrariness of the categories set in opposition. It is also the weakness of
the system of Hegel. We read with some pleasure the idea of night, negation of
the day. But what about twilight and dawn? What is
night? The Koran is the only known text giving an answer. It is night when we
can no longer distinguish a white thread from a black thread. But the moment
depends on the sight of the observer. So that a mosque in
Where to put penumbra in the opposition between night and day?
All other perceptions that may be attached to the “here” and the “now” must undergo the same dialectic fate. For example, now it is hot, now it is cold. The problem becomes serious. On a cold winter night, I go back home to find the soft heat of the home. Imagine that I have a sauna. A moment of relaxation; I get out of it. It’s freezing here. Where is the cold? Where is the warm? How to oppose the “now” where it is warm to the “now” where it is cold, since this warm is colder than this cold? The warm is cold as well. Hegel’s approach is identical on this point with that of Aristotle. It is really a pure nominalism. The philosopher Alain criticised this aspect of the philosophy of Hegel. There is even worse.
In the “here”, where the bird was, the air is no longer the same as in the “here”, where the presence of the bird is denied. How the air could it be its own negation? The air does not fit the dialectic of perception of space. The air cannot enter the dialectic of the space perception.
Finally, the Earth moves around in the solar system, itself moving in the Galaxy, which is not stationary. There is a multitude of determinations. However, the gravitational and electromagnetic fields which were here are still here. Values have certainly changed in proportion to the motions of the “here”. Where are the negations?
In these cases, as in the air, the dialectic of sense-certainty is relative to motion and not to the universals “space” and “time”.
When looking at Hegel proceeding to the determination of opposite categories which substantiates his dialectic, a Frenchman can not but smile when he sees him eliminating confrontation between opposing categories that do not seem him suitable for the benefit of those which suit for him. The Frenchman pushes reason up to the absolute and puts a gently ironic look on such a circumstantial behaviour. He does not see philosophy as expert statements or as oracle postulates.
Both Hegel’s examples are relatively simple. Things get more complicated when the object of perception occurs with several aspects, which are themselves characterised by multiple determinations. This is the case of consciousness that Hegel addresses without transition after space and time.
The universals of Hegel are the last steps of the dialectic of the acquisition of ideas. They are the result of an opposition. Hegel called it the negation of negation. A Hegelian category, outcome of the dialectical process, is ultimate when reaching the simple ideas. Hegel did not seek to oppose the instant to a non-instant to find something other than time. Time is an ultimate category that Hegel called universal. The same apply to space. The result seems acceptable, the reasoning is abstruse. Without doubt, these universals, these ultimate categories, these ideas so to speak, are not perceived objects. For Hegel, these are not mere ideas in the sense of Plato. Hegel’s universals can not be isolated from the dialectical process that generates them. But they are not, they can not themselves be objects of perception, bound to the dialectic of sense-certainty. It should be noted by the way that the dialectic of perception does not suppress the opposite perceptions when forming an idea, a universal. On the contrary, the Hegelian process postulates the conservation of perceptions forming the universal concept. The universal concept only exists as a whole including the perception determinations and the resulting concept.
This is not that easy in more complex cases. One must proceed by iterations. The master will help you. He treated all aspects of thought. You do not have to worry. You will, finally, find the ultimate term identifying the absolute with itself. This iteration involves the various perceptions relative to a very single universal. At each iteration, the opposite determinations of perceptions are both overstepped in the process of negation of the negation. They can not be determinations of the following dialectic iteration. Each universal results from a dialectic iterative process. But in any case, universals can not derive from one another. A universal is ultimate by definition.
You will then have reached the very idea. The very idea is absolute as thought but neither as a perception of the object, nor as an object of perception. This distinction between object and perception, then between perception and idea, so deeply described in the Phenomenology of Spirit is not really new. Hegel has described it in such a detailed way and so precisely too, that one could think that the issue would no longer arise. I think the philosopher Alain, although reluctant to the nominalism, admired this view of Hegel. You may find in many Alain’s talks this warning: “the appearance is certainly existing, it is the experiment as well, but beware, the appearance is nothing if not judged by the mind.” The appearance is only what the thought wanted at first. In other words, we see, the most often, what we want to see. We do not lead our investigations, our experiments, at random. To pronounce their diagnosis, the doctor and the expert proceed to successive examinations according to an established protocol.
Finally, the Hegelian dialectic is not universal. For Hegel, all is not dialectical. There are three limitations on the scope of the Hegelian dialectic.
The universal, the idea, can never be an element of the dialectic, a component of the dialectic of sense-certainty. This is the first limit. The universal themselves are excluded from the scope of the dialectical approach, in other words the approach is limited to the determination of the universal.
One difficulty is whether the ultimate level, the universal, has been reached. Where the process does it stop? On what criterion rests the exclusion of Hegel? He did not reveal the screen. This is the second limit of the Hegelian dialectic.
For Hegel, the mathematical truths are not dialectical; they are “extrinsic, apprehended in terms of exteriority”. More simply, they are already universal. Hegel confirms his position at the beginning of his Philosophy of Nature: “One shall not require from geometry to deduce the need for space to have three dimensions, as geometry is not a philosophical science ... it presupposes space with its universal determinations.”
Finally, the dialectical process of Hegel is not itself a universal. It is the modality of the relationship between the perceived world and the thought and also between categories of thought themselves. The Hegelian dialectic is not itself dialectical. A data processing specialist would say that the dialectic is not recursive. This is the third limit.
We shall remind these limitations of the scope of the Hegelian dialectic. These are essential features from the logical standpoint. Of course, these limits are somewhat delicate and the last, in particular, may seem artificial. As long as the master was there, everything went well. Things became somewhat confused afterwards.
Why these limitations? Hegel was too steeped in Plato’s dialogues, to fall into the trap of sophistry. Everything can not be dialectical.
You have only to be convinced to use the reasoning that Socrates applies to the famous Heraclitus’ statement “penta rhei” everything flows. If everything flows, then this statement itself should flow, that is it shall also change and lead so to assert that certain things do not flow, to end finally in the idea equally absurd that nothing flows.
In the same way, it is absurd to pretend that everything is dialectical. Dialectic should itself be dialectical. There should be something that is not dialectical opposing, then merging, with the dialectic and leading to a higher level that should also be dialectical. This is asserting that there is at least one thing that is not dialectical. One must then repeat the same reasoning to the upper level. Endless absurdity. It is impossible to say that everything is dialectical.
The dialectic itself can not be dialectical in nature. There is at least one thing that is not dialectical.
Marx and Engels began by removing the distinction, fundamental to Hegel, between object and perception. For them, thoughts, categories, universals, everything belongs to the material world. Here are the famous statements of Marx (The Capital Liv 1 - Introduction):
“My dialectic method is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life process of the human brain, i.e., the process of thinking, which, under the name of “the Idea,” he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of “the Idea.” With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought. The mystifying side of Hegelian dialectic I criticised nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just as I was working at the first volume of “Das Kapital,” it was the good pleasure of the peevish, arrogant, mediocre Epigonoi [Epigones – Büchner, Dühring and others] who now talk large in cultured Germany, to treat Hegel in same way as the brave Moses Mendelssohn in Lessing’s time treated Spinoza, i.e., as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even here and there, in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the modes of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands, by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general form of working in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be turned right side up again, if you would discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.”
rom then on, the material world appropriates the dialectical approach. The universe becomes a phantasmagorical struggle of contraries, of opposites, of foes. The opposites of Marx and Engels oppose, deny themselves, interpenetrate with the same frenzy as men and animals in The Earth of Zola. The bourgeois kills noble the. The proletarian kills the bourgeois. Blood! Blood! Blood! No, do not misinterpret what I wrote. The blood is not the ultimate category engulfing so many horrors. I just wanted to say that there should be everywhere struggles.
Marx and Engels was mainly concerned with the determination of ultimate categories, the universals. Since the Hegelian approach leads to exclusive, definitive, ultimate universal in the sphere of thought, this approach extended to matter should also lead to exclusive, definitive, ultimate universal in the physical universe. These universals are absolutes. But the categories of Marx and Engels have an absolute nature before being dragged into the infernal dialectical materialism process. Their definitions are fixed for ever by the dictates of our two master thinkers. What they have petrified is it not the absolute in itself? The opposition of categories against one another produces absolute. The universals, that Marx and Engels sought after these struggles were already within their opposite categories. The victorious emerging category would become absolute. What could be more natural? It was already. But, the other disappears in depths of marxist hell, with the idealistic concepts. It existed physically. But, at the end of the struggle it disappears from the experimental world. It passes into the idealistic world. Thus, it has a form of existence. However, Marx and Engels deny the existence of the world of ideas! Go and understand!
The eliminated category was absolute, static, petrified, fossilised by its own definition. Marx and Engels suppress absolute!
the high peaks of
Marx and Engels materialised the Hegelian process. They also introduced major changes in his system.
First, of course, the dialectic iteration of determinations fusion is not related to perceptions. It concerns things themselves, such as the classes, the capital, the surplus value. But is it really about things? Of things existing physically such as the stones, the rivers, the winds?
In addition, a category used in a step of the dialectic iteration can be used in the following step. Marxist categories can change of level. Thus, the bourgeoisie, the category opposed to the nobility, is still there at the following dialectical process step, as opposed to the proletariat. Conversely, the nobility disappears definitely at the first step. The marxist dialectic eliminates physically the category that do not go to the following step. They are no longer part of the physical reality. Finally, and above all, Marx and Engels have extended the materialist dialectic to all areas of the universe.
The categories of Hegel, objects of sense-certainty, do not exist as physical objects of course. They remain, as perceptions, at the end of the dialectical process to form inseparably, with their negation, the universal, the idea. The Hegelian dialectic is a process, a motion of the spirit between the perceptions and the universals, the ideas. It led to see the history of thought itself in an evolutionary aspect.
Dialectical materialism of Marx generalises the Hegelian dialectic. However, a fundamental property of matter is motion. Nobody disputes that. The doctrine of Marx and Engels, states that any motion is dialectical. Everything is dialectical. There is no exclusion. Therefore no escape from the absurd. If everything is motion, evolution, the dialectic must also evolve, change, and it can not change by remaining what it is. It must become what it is not. If one argues that dialectic is everything, then it must become what it is not. But the opposite of everything is nothing. If it applies to everything, it must apply to itself, and thus deny itself. So it is that does apply to nothing. Socrates had the art to develop this kind of arguments. They remain unanswered for nearly 2500 years. By waiving the limitations of Hegel, the dialectic materialism falls into inconsistency, absurdity.
The dialectic is, for Marx and Engels, the exclusive mean of relationship between everything in the material universe. Thought, brought by the brain, belongs to the material reality. The dialectic is not only the process of appropriation of determinations of sense perception. As an overall process, it immediately loses any notion of levels. Things oppose one another. Perceptions oppose one another. Categories oppose one another. Therefore, their multiple determinations oppose one another. The Hegel’s universals also oppose one another. When turning right side up the Hegelian dialectic, Marx makes thought passing to matter. The universals, the ideas themselves are de facto involved in the materialist dialectical process of negation of negation. So that, Marxism is not only a stunning extension of the Hegelian philosophy. Marxism is its complete destruction. Marxists are delighted at this dialectical process:
“The dialectics of Marx is the direct opposite of Hegel, Marx rejects the previous conception of the dialectic, but at the same time, he achieves it because he only adds an additional determination. If we consider the relation of Marx to Hegel in terms of contradiction, inversion and overstep, you arrive at the following paradox: Marx proves Hegel against itself. Marx is the truth of Hegelianism.”
Marxism was thus self declared the ultimate philosophy.
In short, Marx and Engels have generalised the Hegelian dialectic. They materialised it. They kept Hegel research of categories and oppositions. This is the reason for the dialectical approach. They kept the concept of universal, ultimate outcome of the iterative process of opposition. They removed the separation of levels of categories: a category may pass to the next level of iteration. Moreover the defeated category is definitely eliminated by the dialectical process.
Setting categories is the fundamental cause of the collapse of their criticism of the capitalist economy. The criteria of marxist categories are set in stone.
The lack of separation between levels of categories is the immediate source of the ruin of their theory of communism, the classless Society. Marxist categories can change of level.
The selection of the class that must pass to the next level, and then at the universal level and the elimination of the opposite category, is the main reason for the failure of their social forecasts. The selection is done by the master of dialectics. This is the oracle’s statement.
As a result, the proletariat was promoted the only class of the classless Society.
There remain two questions I left unanswered. How is identified the winner class? Why stop at this level of the struggle rather than another?
In other words, how can we know whether the outcome of a struggle is a universal? This universal is it universal, since everything shall be dialectic? The universal should be also dialectised. It should be led itself in the horror of negation. Should it disappear into the disaster of the negation of the negation?
The practical problem of Marx and Engels was the victory of the proletariat. It was their sole concern. The victory of the proletariat was no doubt in their minds. They have to convince the proletarians themselves. What is more natural than the promise of paradise and of a paradise on the Earth: no more classes, you will masters, your own masters, and to each according to his needs. Yes, you will see! Their dialectic would lead to the universal. It must remain only one universal class, the ultimate step of the dialectical process. The end of History.
If the proletariat was not the universal expected, their historical materialism system would have led to believe that the working class could be, one day, opposed to the lumpen-proletariat, as it has been itself struggling against the bourgeoisie, in turn dialectically victorious of the nobility. It would have been necessary to achieve the victory of the proletariat before the lumpen-proletariat may claim a dialectical struggle against the proletariat. But Marxists have rejected this possibility. The lumpen-proletariat is not involved in economic processes, it does not produce surplus value: it has no economic role. It is therefore excluded from the marxist system. The proletariat is truly universal. There are no more class struggle after the proletarian victory. There is no more alienation. One must therefore reject the lumpen-proletariat. One must therefore eliminate the lumpen-proletariat. There is no place for the poor in historical materialism. Every day, KGB vehicles picked the poor, the beggars, the homeless who wandered in the Soviet cities. It was the Soviet charity. These unfortunates passed away in the Gulag.
The worldwide intellectual elites have admired the great concern of Marxists for the hardness of proletarian life. They did not want to see that this concern has a corollary with the physical elimination of the poor, the lumpen-proletariat. Soviet Society is a limited charity Society. It does not eliminate only the bourgeois. It first eliminates the poor. The West intellectual elites were delighted at seeing the rich, the kulaks, the bourgeois, reduced to famine and death. They did not want to see the atrocious elimination of the poor. They did not hear about it of course. It is the leitmotif of indoctrinated!
Trotsky launched Bolshevik soldiers against the workers and sailors of Kronstadt. These workers were previously employed in the arsenals of the Navy. They were out of work. The sailors were unoccupied. Poor, lumpen-proletarians, certainly. The path was traced from the outset. It was not only to eliminate the bourgeoisie. Lumpen-proletarians shall also be eliminated. Indeed, Trotsky was not a man to bother with theoretical justification. His political works are more inspired by inquisitorial rules than by Marx works: Article 13: the denunciation is compulsory, Article 14: there is always a communist behind you. The numbering is fancy, the rules too real. Trotsky did not invent the provost. He made it an army behind the army. The soldiers of the Bolshevik Red Army died under the bullets of Whites or of GPU at choice. It was the free will revisited by the Soviets.
Marx justified in advance the elimination of the lumpen-proletariat: “The proletariat is a universal social category because it bears universal suffering and is does not seek to a particular justice because it is a victim of a genaral injustice, a class of Society which can be freed only by freeing others.” (Annalen 1844) Freeing others means of course eliminating them.
The proletariat is the universal which ends the dialectical iterative process. It is the ultimate class. This is the real end of History.
slaves were not the universal class that would have ended the dialectical
process? Why slavery has been abolished? Victor Schoelcher
did vote to abolish slavery in the French colonies after a vibrant speech. Why
not vote to abolish the proletarian condition? That would be justice!
Unfortunately, it would be too late. There are tourists who visit the markets
proletarian condition has been hard, no one doubted. What were the conditions
prior to the emergence of the industry?
of the main social categories was the migrants. They spent the winter in towns,
selling their arms for the most varied works: masons, carpenters, porters. They
were recalled in spring in their village to work in fields. A population of
several million migrants roamed the roads of
is within this social category that the developing industry has drawn its first
labour force. As the temperature in a container of boiling water, the number of
migrants was continuously maintained despite the drain of the industry.
Fieldwork required a large labour force. Its mechanisation will be a late
consequence of industrialisation. At the same time, improving hygiene caused a
massive increase of the population. In the mid-nineteenth century, it reached
in rural areas densities that are difficult to imagine today. It would be
absurd to believe that these migrants have agreed to remain in the industrial
suburbs if living conditions were not better than in the rural areas. Those who
were alarmed by the conditions of life in the suburbs of towns, and have blamed
industrialisation have not been curious enough to examine how these men lived
before the industry. If the migrants left the rural areas where their families
lived, it is because they could not live there.
Within town, the servants, nearly 15% of the population, seemed to constitute a privileged group. Most servants lived in the house of their master. In addition, they are closer than other to crumbs that fall from the table of the rich. For nothing in the world, they would change their place for a blacksmith shop or a farm. Their apparent advantages hide their condition, which was not so different from that of slaves. They were fed and housed, but received no salary, unless they were cooks and coachmen.
The higher was the “house”, the more they were numerous, sometimes hundreds. In summer, most follow their masters in the country, another priceless privilege. The problem was housing. Piled in the attic without heating, families lived in a horrible promiscuity. The day the children were hanging out on the street or in the fields to not disturb the house. Infant mortality was unthinkable. Some categories were particularly badly provided. The grooms slept in the hay with horses. Once they were old enough, children helped to all tasks, even the most unhealthy. Entirely devoid of savings, the old, too weak to help, had only one issue: swelling the ranks of the destitute homeless.
fate of apprentices in all areas was similar. The employees of ironworks slept
in the halls of coal, in barns or stables. Charcoal-burners, which have
persisted until the mid-twentieth century in
There are in cities a multitude of small jobs that required a large workforce. The manufacture of wallpaper, despite the beauty of the result, is an industry particularly polluting. It handles a lot of colours more or less toxic and odorous. The most dangerous was the emptying of cesspools, in general use in cities. The main risk off the inconvenience of the smell was asphyxiation. Workers had to go into the pit to fill buckets. Access, often cramped, does not allow installing equipment for handling and there were still no pumps adapted for this purpose. This disgusting task was realized by almost inevitably mephitic children. How many died suffocated?
What is the objective of those who try to show us that the pre-industrial era was a kind of paradise? How was Heilbroner able to write untruths so dramatically opposite obviously to History?
is even worse. Further down the social scale, one lies outside all year and all
time. They eat a little when there are leftovers. Of course, they go barefoot
summer and winter. We should get a big march down in horror. Now there is no
more food for unnecessary mouths. Old did the same in their youth, so that they
were resigned to their fate. They did not die of old age or disease. In this
class, they died of hunger at the first weather difficulty. No doubt there were
frequent cases of malnutrition in children. This was due to resource and not a
social phenomenon as for old people. In areas without industries, such as the
conditions may be quite similar to those faced today by people in the
members of this class are the first victims of the epidemics that ravaged
life of shepherds, the dream of the intellectual elite that preceded 1968, had
poetry only in
There are not only the herds of sheep. They should also keep cows, geese, and pigs. There were no fences. The iron was too expensive to make barbed wire. For these animals slow and easy, the children were used. A young guardian of geese, this gives a charming engraving. Watch closely. She is barefoot and dressed in rags. And up there, there are cumulonimbuses. It will rain before night. Would she be covered with feathers as her geese, she would have no problems. But she will come back soaked. Will she have a place near the chimney of the masters? I doubt that. What was her expectation of life?
Incidentally, we have noticed that with some provocation, I assigned the herd to an aristocrat. It is also what I want to show. The opposition, mainly introduced by the Marxists, between the nice farmer lord of the eighteenth century, and the wicked industrial bourgeois of the nineteenth century, is one of the great historical fallacies. First, the industries of the eighteenth century belonged mainly to the nobility and this industry was much more developed one want to believe. But it was spread throughout the country. Conversely, the textile industry, which characterised the beginning of industrialisation, had settled in cities. The bourgeois leftists, such as Marx and Engels, himself captain of industry, who have developed economic theories only have this urban industry under eyes. They have analysed neither the state nor the evolution of ironworks, glassworks and paper factories worker condition.
addition, the living conditions of servants, farmers, day labourers and sharecroppers
of the aristocracy, without any form of freedom, were much worse than those of
industrial workers. And yet, not to mention the slaves
working in large farms of the nobility in the colonies. Neither the
slave trade organised and financed on a large scale by high families of the
ports and of the capital of the kingdoms of
in good times, a minimum of 10% of the population had no jobs, no resources.
The proportion was about twice that in
If we may take the prototype of a civilisation, a period or a nation, among the largest group, only the liberal industrial civilisation, only the liberal industrial nations, may have a prototype of their inhabitants that is not a poor man. This is the first civilisation in human History, which reaches this step!
will say that according to this criterion, the representative of this
civilisation, in times of crisis, could be an unemployed person. Certainly, but
a compensate unemployed and not a poor man. One will say that this civilisation
globalised economy. If it has not indigent, it is
because it exploits the
the West, the poor have begun to move closer to cities only when sanitation and
hygiene had made living conditions acceptable. Before 1820 in
These are not imaginary capitalists who have consciously decided to fill the suburbs with poor they would have then used at low prices. On the contrary, the industrial capitalists had under the eyes the incredible advances in hygiene, arising from the technical means that their industries were developing. These capitalists had the deep conviction to take humanity out of hell. It was only after 1850 that the new capitalists, having no longer under the eyes the previous human condition focused on the plight of workers and found their misery, really horrible at times of crisis. And yet, the expectation of life had already taken a new leap to 45 years instead of 30 years a century earlier.
You shall think that I blackened on purpose the picture. It is the opposite. I have only mentioned what is shown by the documents of the time, studied on a large scale for a little more than two decades. It will take many years for the human condition before the Industrial Revolution is known in all its atrocity.
Who is bearing the misery of the world? The proletariat is privileged compared to the poor, the lumpen-proletariat, that sub-proletariat so despised by Marx and Engels. Where is the justice? And what is justice? To each according to his needs answers the Marxist. Who will know the need for everyone, and will make the final distribution in this world? What pleases one, the other abhors. Who can give freedom? And what is freedom? If I want and when I want answers the leftist. He shall eat the bread of the baker and drink the wine of the winemaker. Understand what I mean: he must go to school to learn and read to know. He is the master? He is the author? Who speaks of equality? And what is equality? Despite his efforts, here is one that can not remember anything, and there, another remembering everything, having just read. Are they equal? That man was born blind. Another will end his days in his wheelchair after an accident, which he is not responsible for. Where is equality?
is Justice? What is
It seems we are far from dialectics. But we remain in fact within the questioning of Marx postulates. On the social level, the marxist doctrine has proven to be a huge mistake. I would have only pushed a door open if I had considered the issue in the present social condition. I do not only denounce the marxist historical analysis. I denounce the dialectical materialism. The doctrine is false. It has blinded its inventors and their followers. They analysed the History through the screen of their system. What they saw has no relation to reality. What they have concluded is contrary to the facts, now the most obvious. There are not just human imperfections that would have led to misjudgements whose consequences have been so dramatic. The doctrine itself is false. This is why the doctrinaires that followed tried to remedy the errors. They have remade the analysis on new postulates. They want to keep the dialectical doctrine. The consequences of their analysis, they derive from the dialectic can only be wrong. Will it be necessary to spread again death, by hundreds of millions, before understanding they are wrong too? When will finally eyes open and see that this is not the short view of our princes of universities, which is involved? The cause is their system of thought: the dialectic.
To be precise, it must be said that materialism is no more intellectually correct. This is why, intellectual elite claimed to be above the idealism-materialism debate. Master Bourdieu, so called ”the science”, was the representative of this new school. Before him, Marcuse, Weber, Habermas had questioned the marxist analysis of the value and method for obtaining the surplus value. But they kept the dialectical approach of class struggle. The struggle would only have been rendered soft. The capitalists would use the scientific and technical progress, universally accepted, as a means to serve their ideology. The progress would also allow distributing a part of the profit to calm the clamour against the exclusive exercise of power by technocrats in their service. Panem et circences somehow! Habermas’ thesis is really new!
The so-called intellectuals remain as desperately hanging to the dialectic as the hung in their rope.
I left aside the three famous laws of the dialectic: the transformation from quantity to quality and vice versa, the interpenetration of opposites and the negation of negation. In the marxist system, which generalises the dialectic these three laws lead to a curious phenomenon.
Items that meet one, two or three of these laws form three sets. These items consist of two contrary predicates. These two predicates are evolving in parallel until their simultaneous disappearance in the new reality. These elements are only potentially dialectical. They are dialectical only by the completion of the dialectical process. They then are lost for the dialectic. This completion is accomplished in unity. They need to re-enter immediately into a new dialectical process. They only may remain dialectical under the condition they combine with their opposite. Yet they are only virtually dialectical, waiting to have passed the three fatal steps. Fatal first for the dialectic.
Those three sets are not themselves dialectical. They do not meet any criteria of the dialectic. They can not oppose one another. They are in no way opposite to each other. They are composed of elements, which, even taken in pairs, could meet the three laws of dialectics only by accident.
These elements are monads, if I may here a little abuse of the word of Leibniz. They are simple in the absence of opposition and they belong exclusively to the virtual, always being in power of dialectic reality.
Hegel has never claimed that everything is dialectical. Also, these small problems of pure logic are not problems for his philosophical system. This is not the same for the marxist system. There are no longer difficulties but insurmountable paradoxes. The application to “any” of the marxist dialectic led by these small rationales, a bit trivial, excuse me, to the most total absurdity. One finds, finally, that nothing is dialectical. The response of marxists is known. These transitional states of categories during the development process of the dialectic may be virtual, but they reside in the brain. The brain is in nature. So that they are no less material. In this case, the problem is not there. The bottom line is not their virtual character in relation to the matter. These categories are not in a dialectical state. This is just what I mean. There is a contradiction with the marxist principle: everything is dialectical. These states, which are involved in everything, are not dialectical and can not be dialectical as part of the dialectic itself. Forgive me plagiarise Plato, with such poor examples.
I mentioned the law of transformation from quantity to quality in connection with the case Lyssenko. This law has an essential role in the historical materialism. It implies that any change in form, in quality comes at a stage of accumulation of a determination. Engels tried to apply this law to physics. A disaster. The pressure of a gas would result from the accumulation of molecules. However, there is no defined amount ensuring the passage of individual molecules to the pressure. Without criterion, this concept is irrelevant. Marxists have not been able to give quantified criteria in any field. It is only statements of expert. There is nothing behind.
Many kinds of wheels were manufactured, from the smallest to largest. This one equips wheel excavators of open pits. It is higher than a six-storey building. That one is etched in silicon by a photochemical process. We can see it only with a powerful microscope. From the fastest to slowest. This one is the last of the clock, it passed the years. That one draws high-speed train more than five hundred kilometres an hour. There is even faster in the hydrogen turbopump of space rockets. This is probably the most expensive. The plastic wheel of a toy is definitely the most economical. They could be classified as biologists do, by broad categories, and one could seek their origin. Thus, one traces back the hydrogen turbopump to the centrifugal pump. This is the daughter of impeller mills who get lost in the mists of time. For the wheel of the fast train, it goes back to the wheels of pharaoh’ chariots. Beyond that, should we think that the first wheel was a tree trunk sawn or cut? Archaeology may still bring surprises.
Multiple is the wheel. But the circle? Has it been subject to any progress since he awoke for the first time in the mind of man? Has he suffered any alteration? The circle is it ageing? Is it better known after the progress of science? Should we think otherwise the circle? It is existing only in mind. Who can find in nature a set of points in a plane exactly equidistant from another point called the centre? That is a mathematical model of the wheel. It can not match any perceptible reality.
The definition of the circle includes a notion of measure. However, children are developing very well the idea of round, of circle, without any recourse to a measure. This measure is not feasible in an absolute manner. The problem is the same as for the straight line. There is no way to ensure that the distance is really accurate. The multiple forms of wheels awake in our minds the idea of a circle. Like all ideas, it exists, before the experiment, in the transcendental world. The fact is that the perfect circle can not exist physically. Even if it exists physically, we could not in any case be sure that what we see is a circle. We do not have access to infinite precision, which would be proof. Moreover, what we perceive in Nature is essentially quantified, that is composed of separate elements. This separation is a condition of perception. The ”continuous” is not perceptible. Reality can only contain coarse images of the circle. This is only to the infinite that circle could correspond to the idea. When reasoning at that level, we fall into unfathomable paradoxes. The points that form the circle are infinitely small. They have no size. Naught.
The idea of a circle has no history. Conversely, the history of its representations is an exciting adventure. This is the history of the wheel as well as the history of astronomy. Similarly, the views of men on the ideas gave rise to many hypotheses since the highest antiquity.
must think that a large part of the spirit activities, a large part of the
thought, is located in the brain and is therefore an operation integrated in the
physical universe. But, the spirit uses to think ideas that can not belong to
this universe. They are absolute and infinite, as the straight line, circle,
being, naught. Spirit also conceives Truth, Justice,
There is not only the geometry in the transcendental world. What time would it be the limit of? I mean time as we conceive it: empty, with a past and a future, infinite and continuous. The absolute ideas justice, truth, freedom, equality are also in thought. These are transcendental. What physical realities would they be the limits of? One would require not only an infinite universe; one should also require a part of the physical universe that contains these absolute ideas, as so many additional dimensions.
The transcendental world would be then the limit of the physical world. For example, naught would be something infinitely small. This vision is knocking on the limited walls of my mind, like a fly to the window. I did not open this window. Kant expressed, in his way, the same refusal in his Critique of Practical Reason: “I leave to the mechanism of physical necessity the right of ascending from conditioned to condition ad infinitum, while on the other side I keep open for speculative reason the place which for it is vacant, namely the intelligible, in order to transfer the unconditioned thither.” (Kant, Critic of practical reason, Trajectory, Inc. 2014). The Kant’s unconditioned is the transcendental world. It contains the idea of causality, but it is not submitted to causality.
In all these dimensions, we should think that thought might reach the infinite, the absolute. That seems to me impossible. Aristotle claimed he was able to put the absolute, the infinite, into things, into the experimental world. He fell in the approximations of pragmatists. Things come to mind through the perceptions. However, perceptions are based upon physical means essentially limited. Infinity and absolute are thus rolled out, eliminated. However, the infinite and the absolute are in my thoughts.
One might think that these physical means are only the emerging part, so to say, of the system of the universe. The senses would need a transcendental part synchronised with the physical part. We then fall into a universe, with a consistent appearance, but more complex than the absolute dualism of Plato’s Sophist. There should be a double duplication. First, a duplication of things by ideas. On the other hand, a duplication of transfer functions to the brain of sensitive data through transcendental transfer functions. I should once a day definitely wall up this window! Although I recognise the transcendental world poses very strange problems as I have shown.
The ideas are absolute. We can not say they exist. We can not say either they do not exist.
There is becoming neither of the circle nor of the straight line. The idea of straight line is a set of determinations: infinitely thin, infinitely long, infinitely continuous, perfectly straight first. You may ask what means “straight”. I have no answer. The professor of geometry claims: the straight is the shortest distance between two points. How can he know that he has the shortest distance? By the measure. With what? With a standard length. What a standard length? A straight line. What a straight line? The shortest distance between the ends. The professorial definition contains his definition. This is the syndrome of the dictionary. One turns in circles. We are bounced from one word to another. It shall be a beginning. We shall admit a certain number of indefinable words to define the others. In the same way, the absolute is elusive, ideas are indefinable. These are the beginnings of thought.
The history of philosophy, as the history of science is a perpetual becoming. But not everything is becoming. The ideas have not becoming. There is no becoming of
2 +2 = 4.
You know perhaps this arithmetic joke. The managers of a large company just want to make sure that two plus two makes four. They ask the question to an specialist of their research department. He answered without hesitation that the result is four and could not refrain from telling his amazement that people could ask such a question. The managers, however, were not fully satisfied and then call their chief accountant. The latter asked if this is the same currency in both cases and, if so, whether the costs were assessed on the same date as the result. The result would be then four. If the dates differ, it is necessary to correct the figures taking into account inflation; thus the total could be more than four. Such a pragmatic view comforts our managers and they were pleased to have verified this point. However, one still has a doubt and proposes to consult the specialist in risk assessment, a position created in recent months. They phone him. He was asked, also, how much is two plus two. This specialist in statistics asked the managers to wait a moment. Then he said: “that is, the door is now closed. How much would you like it makes, Mr. Director?”
Ideas have no history, no becoming. If it were true that everything has a history, a becoming, this idea itself would have a story, this idea shall change. Thus, it could be that there are things that have no history, no becoming. That is the answer of Socrates to “everything flows”. Conversely all phenomena have a history, a becoming. And this becoming is not easier to predict than the weather. The past, moreover, is itself poorly known. These are two great illusions of the historic materialism: having an assured knowledge of the past and infer from it an assured knowledge of the future.
In the same way, Marxists claimed that the analysis of the past allows for predicting the future. But we can predict an event only if it was established that, in given circumstances, phenomena recur, at least roughly, the same way. Meteorologists do so. They are not at all assured of the result. The circumstances are never identical, and moreover we ignore so many things.
In affirming a defined becoming, one states that the conditions remain the same. One says that these conditions have no becoming, they shall remain similar to themselves. The inconsistency has two levels. On the one hand, one affirms the necessity of becoming, and this assertion itself has no becoming. On the other hand, one affirms the identity of the conditions that ensure the becoming, and these conditions have no becoming. All lucubration of the Capital are based on the assertion constantly repeated: “All things being equal”. It is clearly the problem of forecasting. Things are never equal. They are themselves becoming. And this becoming has no predictable end!
No area has escaped the sagacity of the Marxists. They seek for ends everywhere. The historical materialism has even received an application in the Arts. In the musical field, the result is the most remarkable. It fits in a short story.
A friend of mine married his son to a charming and intelligent young girl who just got his doctoral degree. His theses focused on the history of music. In his speech, my friend says how much he is delighted to have the opportunity to increase his musical knowledge. He believed that music had stopped with the Art of Fugue. I could not hold me to share my knowledge, much more extensive. “After Bach, everyone knows that. After Bach, there is the Pink Floyd”.
It was a sacrilege. The absurd theory of dialectical materialism is the law. After Bach, Mozart and Beethoven and so on. The chaotic proliferation of discords in musical composition is the quantitative aspect. The critical point of the quantitative accumulation is reached in the thirteenth quartet of Beethoven. Why not in the Great Fugue? Fugue lends itself much better with experiments. I listened to both hundreds of times. I still do not understand. Who knows the motivation of the marxist expert? He knows him, without even having to listen, maybe! He decided. It occurs in the thirteenth quartet a dialectic transformation to quality: a qualitative leap characteristic of all revolutions. The quantity then resumed its accumulation in the twelve-tone music, then in serial music, and finally in the stochastic music. These are as many successive qualitative leaps. Listen to the sublime master. It reaches to the ultimate music. Not absolutely, it is true. His last masterpiece could still be heard by seven people. I have no doubt that after a final leap, the divine master gets to release this last obstacle. Alone in his work, he will finally fulfil the Hegelian prophecy. Absolute music will be the end of music, the last category, a universal.
The reader will forgive me for me complacent irony. He knows him, that music is not dead. Not only the former still survives, but he also listens to this fabulous renewal themes and instruments, which monopolises the waves around the globe. This new music is not in the nature of dialectic. How great is the misfortune! At least it is in the nature of the heart. And I listen to Jarre and the Pink Floyd, as well.
The criticism against contemporary art is the fact of ignorant who do not want to bother to understand the richness of expression, the magnitude of the concepts, and the depth of genius. This is the leitmotif of the press and auction houses that makes of it the most of their profit. So we shall be raving in front of humanoid angular shaped, stunning perspectives, clashing of bright colours.
In the “unknown masterpiece”, the most philosophical of his essays, Balzac lays bare the relationship of the mind with absolute. From a few strokes, the genius gives relief to a landscape, life in a face. But his quest for perfection, for absolute, leads to the absurd. In a misshapen cluster, one hardly discovered a foot. It was the work perfect, absolute every body was waiting to discover at last!
Balzac, obsolete? Look! This is no longer novel. The genius was even greater than Velasquez and Goya gathered. One does not appreciate his talent? But of course! We shall enter the new order. We shall accumulate to produce the qualitative leap. The musician accumulates dissonances: thus let us accumulate horrors! Two eyes on the same side of the nose, square buttocks, green fee, blue hands, let us accumulate, accumulate horrors. The qualitative leap will come. The absolute, universal and proletarian painting of course. Do you see something?
The messenger of the absolute is the messenger of naught, as well.
In the field of literature, the novel follows the poetry, which is no longer tasted. The novel should leave one day for a new form of literature. The expression must evolve. There are concerns about how we should write, if not more in verse or prose? Barthes found: “the search for a non-style, or for an oral style, for a zero degree or for a spoken stage of the writing, it is as a matter of fact the anticipation of an absolutely homogeneous state of the Society". They are the shrill orders of the guards of the Gulag and the poignant complaint of their uncountable victims. The Trotskyites and the Maoists, them, found, for a long time, the ultimate way of expression: the crackling of kalashnikovs! The accumulation resulted in a qualitative jump: the death.
A genius of futurology wanted to apply this very same dialectic law of becoming to changing the means of expression. He thought that after 6000 years, writing had come to an end. To convince of his amazing discovery, the genius has written more than 1000 insipid pages, under the more traditional conceptions of writing. It is still not clear, after these thousand pages, what will be the new medium, called to the succession of the use of speech, then of writing. The reality is not the disappearance of the oral and spoken language, but the change of the means of communication. The Internet and the tablets replace the printing means of Gutenberg. Printed books had replaced manuscripts. There are always words, always statements, always the reason behind which expresses himself.
There is no man of art of the twentieth century, which has not tried to get us to that inevitable scientific status, end of History. The chef has emptied the plates. He proposed instead some traces of raw fish and a few tiny and poorly cooked vegetables. The first movement of snobbery past the stomach was quite prosaically rebelled against the performance of the culinary arts. The prospect, perhaps, to have to admire an empty plate, for a price specially conceived, has also provoked certain reluctance, basely bourgeois and how much interested, which put a rapid end to these audacious initiatives. Our chefs were wrong. They ignore the dialectic. The end of the culinary arts had already been discovered by Lenin and Trotsky. They had denied all the old bourgeois principles. The Bolsheviks camps reached the final stage. They served an unsubstantial gruel, cold more often, in a tin that Zeks were to find.
The man, primarily in youth, can not live without passion. However, there are no passions in the reason. There is no reason in the passions. The reason is “in act”, as the philosophers say. Passions are into gestures, so to speak. As by derision for human reason, the gestures make the appearance. These are the passions that make History.
Marx did not mention in his book “the Capital” the problem of alienation of man. He used six times the word alienation in the French translation. Five citations relate to the transfer of the capital and only one to the alienation of the worker.
The fact is that the problem of alienation of man is absent from the Capital for a reason quite simple, perfectly analysed by Raymond Aron. Alienation of man results from the economical alienation. The Capital was intended for removing the economic alienation. As a consequence, by chain reaction all the underlying forms of alienation would have been eliminated. Marx did not address the alienation of man, which was for him a problem solved. We shall examine the earlier works of Marx and in particular the works of youth. I rely on the big book of reverend father Calvez who made a detailed analysis of the evolution of the thoughts of Marx. It contains extensive quotations from Marx and Engels. The Marxism of Marx by Raymond Aron is less interesting on this subject. He was first interested in economics. Additionally, the works of Marx’s youth are available in the Internet.
The first alienation is religion: “The man is alienated by a double existence. The existence of private religion is separated from its political existence. Because of the existence of his private religion, man has two irreconcilable lives”. Indeed, “The man takes a religion to escape the contradiction of public and private, of his individual being and his generic being, in a projection beyond the generic being. This is an abstract idealistic reconciliation because it does not happen in the real.”
The second alienation is political: “The political existence of man is characterised by a split between the life of citizen, civil relations, and human life involved in the world of needs, of labour”.
The third alienation is social: “The unresolved opposition between appearance of a universal Society and the radical division in classes.”
Finally, the real cause of all these alienations is economical: “In capitalism, the worker is alienated with respect to its product, with respect to Nature, with respect to his labour, with respect to other men (the Society). The non-worker is alienated by lack of contact with the act of production the only one able to humanise”. Indeed “the economic alienation is the fundamental alienation. The entire field of human experience is covered by the economy and hence by the alienation inherent to this field. The more the worker produced objects, the less he can possess and the more he falls under the domination of his product: the capital. The worker is alienated in the product only because he is alienated in the work itself.” Reverend Father Calvez summarises the situation of economical alienation by the following statements: “the worker is dispossessed, deprived for the benefit of another, of the possession and enjoyment of part of his work. The worker is thus injured in this part of responsibility that has been engaged in production activity. One can say that it is no longer himself, but has become “other”. There are therefore two meanings. First an objective description of a situation of exploitation (being dispossessed by and for another) and awareness of this condition (becoming “other”)”.
The generic man is a universal. This universal is the completion of the dialectical process. As long as man keep two lives, he is a historical category. The circle of the dialectic is not completed. One should be aware of these two lives. They can only be contradictory according to Marx. One shall negate the wrong one and negate this negation to achieve the universal: the generic man who is the manual worker, the proletarian of course. In the communist Society, the proletarian man would have reached its final status as a generic man.
One finds for the alienation of man the whole system of Marx and Engels. The idea of man, this man generic should physically exist. Of course, it is an accessible absolute as are all ideas for the Marxists. The system of Marx is nominalist and especially approximate. The absolute is only something undefined. Moreover, the reality is dialectical. It needs that categories, both thoughts and realities, are included in a dialectical process by negation: search for contradiction, and negation of negation. The negation of negation is the affirmation of the reality from the two elements in opposition. This reality may be, for Marx and Engels, one of the categories in opposition, the other one shall disappear completely and definitely.
religion shall disappear. The citizen man must remain alone. Why not the
reverse? It is the praxis that shows. “No truth has a right to be maintained if
it is subject to verification by human praxis. Only the understanding of the
praxis and the movement of history is truth.” The man can not live outside of Society.
Even the hermit can not live without having recourse to Society, if only
medicine. The practice shows that we can live without religion. Religion shall
disappear. The facts show. The practice prevails in all. This postulate is the
foundation of scientific dialectical materialism. The citizen man is not yet a
generic man, the universal. Marx discovers an opposite: “The man involved in
the world of needs, labour”. Exit the citizen, under the principle that the
Marxist can choose the element of contradiction that suits his doctrine at the
expense of another. It is dialectical, comrades, it is scientific. Marxists
excludes one or the other. They keep the other or the first one according to
the praxis probably. They may even take any other, as needed, instead one of
the initial categories. But we are not yet to the end of the story! The result
is both the proletarian and the bourgeois; both are involved in the world of
labour, in opposite conditions. We approach the goal. The last step must be
truly revolutionary. Unnecessary to consider converting the
bourgeois into a proletarian by taking him the work tool, the capital.
There shall be a qualitative leap. Eliminate! One shall eliminate the
In such a doctrine, the indoor garden that Montaigne cultivated so carefully in the solitude of his famous tower can not stand. How can I only refer to such a state of alienation? The use of the concept of universal of Hegel led Marx and Engels to reject any deviation from the rule. You shall have only one nature, one thought, one state: this is the worker nature, the marxist doctrine, the proletarian state. Any deviation is necessarily a dialectical contradiction that shall be eliminated and exceeded by the correct determination: the marxist determination.
Marx goes further: “The alienation is the general situations of the absolute subject that has given him a world, a formal world, refusing the real world and its requirements.” One then falls in pure totalitarianism. You can not even, being made of one very single piece, have a thought that differs from that of the marxist truth, the only real concrete. Even if you are fully consistent with yourself, Marx forbids you to have a thought that differs from that of the marxist truth. One understands the logic of the dialectical approach: if you have two visions of the world you live in a contradiction that shall be overcome. From the Marx standpoint, you can not believe in God and be a citizen. In fact, you have no choice: “Religion is the very form of alienation. It is misery and division, it shall disappear ... It is the opium of the people”. You are “alienated to a figure of God conceived as another which deprives the man of his humanity, and makes him other than himself.” Renounce believing in God, abnegate religion, that is believe in the Marx’s doctrine instead.
This is the first step. You will be asked more. You can not simply be a citizen. You would then give to yourself a formal world. The Marxists show you that you participate in the working world. Join the communist party to have your citizenship in accordance with your condition of worker. Wait then the communists have made political life useless, the State irrelevant. Then you will be “one” and definitely freed from all forms of alienation. Would not you be then only the sluggish cog of a machine without soul?
The alienation, in the sense of Marx, results from a dialectical manipulation of categories. One should always and everywhere reach the universal. This universal is “scientifically” determined by the dialectical method. What does it mean “scientifically” for a marxist? It is the marxist expert statement, since the marxist dialectic allows all fiddlings in overcoming contradictions. All difficulties are combined here: the choice of the universal emerging from the contradiction is arbitrary, the need to go to the unique, to the universal, is arbitrary, the reality of the contradiction itself is arbitrary.
What means the first law of dialectics, the interpenetration of opposites? Is it not precisely this idea that we can reconcile two lives? How many men have a paid employment, sometimes even more than one only, while devoting their leisure time in cultural activities, sports or charities? Why should this not be possible? Are they alienated? Ducks can walk as well as swim with their feet. Is it possible to say they are alienated? Would they have to find a contradiction in this dual-use of their feet and to decide to negate one or the other, or both, as well, to overcome the contradiction spending their live to fly?
However, this interpenetration of opposites is precisely the alienated condition of the Marxists. They need to go hunting against the contraries, armed with the negation, and then negate the negation by the assertion of a single condition. When searching the negation they have one activity. They have another one while negating the negation. This is the result of the projection in the physical reality of the contradiction of perception determinations of Hegel. Opposite determinations of Hegel are not realities inherent in the perceptions and even less in the things perceived. Every thing is what it is. The mountain is not the opposite of the valley. It makes no sense. There are in things only some aspects that may differ! For the rest, they are identical. The valley is not made of a different soil from the mountain. Moreover, the difference is not opposition.
The laws of dialectical materialism require the search for universal everywhere. They proceed by opposing opposites and overcoming of the contradiction. Where are these laws coming from? Of what praxis that should be a proof? From which dialectic overcoming? Worse, the dialectic, with its three steps, has a triple life. Why can it escape to alienation? There are three laws. One is in excess for a dialectic process. And even should there be only two laws, negate these laws, comrades! Then negate the negation! Whatever the remaining law, or the overcoming law, this ultimate law of the dialectic can not be equivalent to the laws that was first postulated. The dialectical approach has the disadvantage of not being dialectic itself. It is not the result itself of a dialectic process. It is not recursive, as computer program specialists would say!
Finally, if the man has no dimension beyond the material, it is very difficult to understand why it would be necessary to free him of these alleged alienations.
The pebbles of the torrents, the flowers of the fields, the fishes of the oceans, have they their dialectical accomplishment of what alienation?
In the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel questions alienation exclusively as a result of a lack of unity with ourselves. The lack of knowledge, of culture, that is, you guessed it, of course, ignorance of the mechanism of acquisition of dialectical universal that he developed, is the very basis of alienation. When not seeking the universal by implementing the Hegelian dialectic, consciousness keeps two separate sets of determinations. The perception of the real world leads to determinations opposed one another, simply by, for example, the flow of time that makes the existing perpetually not existing any more. The Hegelian alienation only involves the consciousness and in no case the conditions of existence.
Contrary to Marx, Hegel gives you the right to exist with many strings to your bow. However, Montaigne is again driven out of his garden. He was not at all dialectician. In all, you shall overcome the contradictions of determinations that the sense perception brings you. The hardest part is reserved for scientists. “Science contains in itself the need to alienate from oneself the form of pure concept”. You could think that scientific knowledge is a universal that opens up the path of certainty, since alienation has already been overcome in the very concept of science. Hegel saw in time the gap that opened at his feet. If science is a universal, error becomes impossible. Hegel is a few yards beyond such thinking. He imagined the alienation of alienation. He teaches us that “the History shall be actualised”. The History shall be historicalised. The error is dialectised. The tragedy of Hegel’s system can not be better explained than by this example. Marx failed to catch this remarkable intellectual feat of strength. It would have avoided, already on the brink of a yawning chasm, walking a big step forward. He wrote with his buddy Engels: ”what is special with our system is that we can not be wrong.” The chasm was bottomless: Sic transit gloria mundi.
Night magnifies hazards. When the bow hit a wave and shook the hull and when we can hear at each time some cracking, we are quite far in these moments from thinking that the air of the wind and the water of the sea and the wood of the sailboat have not an existence as accessible as it seems. The wood protects you, the water bears you, the air pushes you. Moreover, would you think that wood, water and air are merely illusions that we create, we would not avoid being sprayed by the waves breaking on the deck and completing their slipping in your feet and being fully awaked by the sea sprays.
However, what has become the water when only a slight trail of salt remains on our face? The wind has evaporated, you say! The steam can itself be decomposed into hydrogen and oxygen. These atoms can be broken in particles. Particles are reduced to corpuscles by hitting other accelerated particles. Where ends the division? What are the parts of the parts?
The example of the sailing boat also shows that the matter that we perceive is always in motion. Thus, the word “materialist” is inappropriate to refer to philosophers who want to limit the existence to matter. This word is not including any reference to the motion affecting matter.
and Engels live in their youth at the end of the
battle of the phlogistic. This was the theory of heat
of the famous Dr. Stahl. This theory ruled for nearly a century. Stahl was
considered by his contemporaries as the greatest scientist of all time. The
dream was shattered by Lavoisier. By weightings
oxidised body, he proved, without appeal, the error of Stahl. Another great
Also, our two thinkers have been very careful about the nature of materialism. Materialism of Marxists is not atomistics. They do not bring everything existing to indivisible bodies and to their motions like the model of Leucippe or Democritus.
Marxist materialism is not an Aristotelianism either. The Aristotelian model is based upon the existence of five principles: ether, fire, air, water and earth. Each principle is given a simple postulated motion, and a dedicated sensation. Sight is relative to ether, smell to fire, hearing to air, taste to water and touch to earth. This model has never been sustainable. Aristotle himself was confronted with a fatal inconsistency. The light is linked to the sight, sense relative to ether. However, light propagates in a straight line, unlike ether of Aristotle, whose motion is circular. Aristotle was compelled to imagine the “diaphanous”, a common property of his five principles. There were, thereafter, several schools. Ether was considered as a constituent common to the four other elements of Aristotle rather than a standing alone element. It lost his status as a constituent of interstellar space. The stars were fire. The logic of Aristotle’s motions lost its meaning.
Engels linked his materialism to a notion of extended matter, “the philosophical category of matter is a simple immutable principle. It has an absolute value that is not identical to the concepts of matter produced by the History of Natural philosophy. Its validity is always relative to a state of knowledge. That is why this category is inseparable from the transformations of knowledge of nature and History, as it allows to represent the absolute nature of this knowledge: objectivity that manifests itself in its successive and relative stages”.
Marxist materialism is to equate the existence to everything in Nature, in the physical universe. The brain is made of cells, molecules, atoms, corpuscles and parts. The brain is in Nature. Nobody disputes that. For Marx and Engels, the brain physically covers all processes of thought. The categories of thought, the ideas, are nothing more than images in the brain of the perceived things in Nature. This is fully opposite to the Plato’s system who saw the perceived things as the imperfect images of ideas.
One could say today that the marxist brain would be a computer receiving external data to record and store. The means remain unknown. In the marxist system, these data would be stored as images of reality. The brain would conduct from these images, multiple operations that would be only functions resulting from physical connections between its components.
Materialism shall be completed by answering a fundamental question. What is the origin of matter and motion? The question includes all aspects mentioned as gravitational fields, electromagnetic fields and various forms of additional forces needed to explain the cohesion of matter. Some materialists believe that the universe has always existed. There is no need of creation. Others, relying on the latest news from physics, believe that the creation happened from its own, from scratch. A kind of self creation by generation of opposites. It is in the perspective of the marxist dialectic and of varied forms of Manichaeism. Engels believed that the evolution of the universe is cyclical and that it is renewed periodically.
The essential feature of marxist materialism is its dialectical nature. The dialectic was considered, mostly as a way of restitution of thought, that is to say a mean of communication. The dialectic was treated with some irony by Plato and Descartes. They made it a process of sophists and scholastics wanderings. Aristotle is an exception. He claimed to raise dialectic at the level of process of Nature in the field of live and for some physical motions. The flowers grow on manure. The seed dies. Life would come from the decay, from death. But with Hegel, everything changed. He made it the exclusive mean of acquisition of ideas by the mind.
Marx and Engels generalised the Hegelian vision of the dialectic and made it the very essence of Nature. Dialectical materialism, the marxist philosophy makes the dialectic of Nature the very cause of the motion and of becoming. The struggle of opposites is the cause of the motion. However, once the dialectic is raised as the only possible and ultimate position, as to the nature of existence and motion itself, it has no contrary. Dialectic can not struggle against anything else. This position is inconsistent, thus absurd. There is no anti-dialectic of Nature that could merge with the dialectic of Nature, within a negation of negation, which would result in the dialectics of Nature. The Marxist would be transformed, if not into an anti-Marxist, or at least into Sisyphus. He should seek indefinitely after anti-dialectic of nature.
This position is also twice incoherent. If everything is in dialectical motion and turns according to the three famous laws of dialectics, one should be able to apply these laws to the dialectic itself so that dialectic should have also a becoming. But the dialectic could not turn in something else. It can not change. The Marxist does not see anything other than struggles, struggles and always struggles. He does not want to change this point of view. He has no becoming, no future. Thus he can not be consistent with his own rules. It is also what shows the only reference he admits. He refers exclusively to praxis, facts. He has never changed. He can not change. It should be noticed that Marxism is motionless from the outset. But any objective observer can not escape today to that evidence. The excerpt of Engels, who has been just mentioned, includes two words, both completely contrary to the notion of becoming supposed inherent in the dialectic: “immutable” and “absolute.” Here comes back again the problem of the Society without classes, without becoming. The marxist dialectic leads to place the absolute in Nature. Engels places the absolute at the very beginning, in the category of matter, universal, end of science.
have been repeating that materialism is the opposite of idealism. This
dichotomy is the direct application of the dialectical necessity of maintaining
separate categories. There would be, on the one hand, the materialist
philosophers, on the other hand, the idealists. Idealists would be bad
philosophers, of course. They would negate the physical universe, they are not
materialist. They would have thought that the physical universe is a mere
illusion created by the mind. This belief is stupid. Marxists reject the
idealistic philosophers in the name of common sense. However, these
philosophers had never existed. Even if
The systems of Hegel and Marx are neither opposites nor contraries. They are different. Marx generalised the Hegel’s thought. I do not wish to come back on the absurdities resulting from this marxist generalisation. Marx and Engels decided that the two are opposites. But they differ only by one of their determinations. This is another example, a little more complex than those I mentioned, of the arbitrary, totalitarian dialectic systems. They require a master to distinguish, at each step, what is in the dialectic line of what is not.
Hegel is classified by Marx and Engels among so-called idealists, his dialectic is limited to the mind. They come to forget that Hegel obviously believed in the existence of matter and motion. This is not my interpretation. He wrote it. There is no ambiguity. In addition, he believed in God, in a way somehow Thomistic. Hegel shall be eliminated. Marx insinuates, Marx asserts, Marx eliminates. This is dialectic, comrades!
Hegel is a dualist like Plato, like Descartes, as the huge procession of philosophers. A dualist who tried, in my opinion in vain, to avoid the pitfalls of the Sophist of Plato dialog. Hegel attempted to limit the number of perceptions eligible to the world of ideas.
For the famous “foreigner” of the Sophist supporting the thesis of Plato, the physical universe is the image of a transcendental world. Ideas are brought to mind by the transcendental world. Each idea of the transcendental world would have its image in the real world, the experimental world. Plato was critical of his own system in his Protagoras dialog. He takes the arguments of Diogenes. This total doubling of the universe is unlikely. It does not solve any problems that arise in mind. The most famous is the “large” and the “small”. If there is an image of the “small” in Nature, what image will be associated with the perception of “large” for a thing which seems large compared to things smaller, and which will be, at the same time, small compared with others looking larger? Things are neither large nor small by themselves. The very same thing is, in one case, the image of the “large” and in another, the image of the “small”. We make a judgement in the perception process. The thought judges the perception by comparing its determinations against the ideas.
For the dualistic philosophers, the spirit is the link between the world of things perceived and the world of ideas. There is no accounting identity between the two worlds. There is no absolute correspondence between ideas and perceptions of things. There is no more any absolute correspondence between the perceptions of things and ideas.
It is impossible to deny the existence of nature, otherwise than by game. No philosopher has been purely idealistic. All philosophers acknowledge the existence of the physical world, material at large. They simultaneously admit the existence of a transcendental world. Marxists call philosophers “idealists” by derision, to discredit them. In fact they are all dualists. There is only one category of philosophers who are not dualists. These are the materialist dialecticians, the Marxists. Even Locke and the philosophers of the Anglo-Scottish school, even Voltaire, and the French sceptics “Lumières” are dualists. They are sometimes called materialist. It is not because they have rejected the world of ideas, the transcendental world. They even not reject God, the Geometer, the Supreme Being. They rejected the Christian religion. Only Marxists reject all. They reject God, religion and the transcendental world.
In his Dialectic of Nature, Engels wrote some surprising sentences: “It is always the old story. First, we make abstractions of sensitive things, and then we want to know them through senses, ... they are abstractions, empty concepts that only exist in our brains.” I cut the passages where Engels introduces time and space, not to complicate things. Of what sensible thing, the straight line of the geometry is the abstraction? Infinite is it abstraction of finite? How data stored in memory are they abstractions? Nobody would think that the binary data stored in computer memory are abstractions. These are data whose existence belong the physical universe. Such data are used for the designation of the straight line. These data will never be straight, infinitely long and infinitely narrow by themselves. They are determination of what we call the straight line that we fully identify with the thought. The use of the word abstraction shows by itself the problem of the position of dialectic materialism. What is an abstraction? Engels also calls abstractions empty notions. What an empty notion? Moreover, while thinking to these empty notions, Engels makes them entering his brain and gives these abstractions, these empty notions, a material existence, by virtue of its own principles. No philosopher had thought before him, that an abstraction may have an objective existence. The poets did not hesitate. A stream of blood flows from the flanks of legendary heroes of the Iliad, handled by vindictive gods. The Capital is not a poem. The flows of blood that it causes to is real, the blood of innocents.
All that is in the brain is essentially limited and discontinuous. The same is true in the physical world, or more precisely in what we are able to perceive. The continuous has no effect. It can neither be seen nor found. The infinitely long can neither be seen nor found. It would take an infinite time to determine the existence of infinite as for continuous. We managed with a very limited number of observations compared to the infinitely large and infinitely small.
Engels is trying to convince us that the relationship between the sizes of something tiny, like an atom, and a huge thing, like a planet, is infinitely great. However, this infinite is itself very small when compared to the ratio between the size of a planet and the galactic cluster that contains our Galaxy. The inverse relationships are extremely small. These are not the infinitely small. Of course, in a practical standpoint, one neglects the infinitely small relative to the higher order. From a mathematical point of view, from thought point of view, the infinitely small is not only having a lower order of magnitude. The smaller orders can be practically neglected compared to the largest, and the result is perfectly sufficient for technical applications. This does not eliminate the knowledge of the infinitely small of an order of magnitude not only lower than another, but smaller with an infinite order of magnitude. Whether this is without use in practice, one can hardly doubt it. But can we doubt that the mind is able to conceive this infinitely small? This is what I have just done with intelligible sentences.
may think that if philosophy is to deal with concepts that are useless, we can
well do without it. Maybe. The doctrine of Marx and Engels had claimed to deal only with what is useful to man
and allow for knowing its becoming. We can already say that this doctrine is no
more very useful to the tens of millions of victims of the Marxists. I let the
survivors free to think what they want. The philosophy allows me to understand
why Marxism is an absurdity on the philosophical level, an aberration on a
scientific level, a stupidity on the economical level, a horror on the social
level, a shame on the human level. Marxists believe that the practice is
superior to knowledge, because it has the dignity of real immediate. Kronstadt, the masterpiece of Trotsky, the Bolshevik jails
I believe that knowledge is superior to practice, because it has the human dignity.
It is likely that ideas are also represented by signals in the brain. Moreover, I would think that the signals corresponding to the perceptions of things are ordered in the brain in conjunction with the signals of these ideas that constitute a kind of files. The fact remains that these ideas can not be the image of anything in the physical world where they can not exist in any way, except to return to Descartes’ piece of beeswax. One would not reduce the physical universe to abstractions, to empty notions.
The ideas are part of the transcendental world. This transcendental world can in no way be an inner world to the physical world. The elements contained therein can not be supported by any physical body. The ideas exist outside the physical world, outside the universe and their existence can not be the same as the existence of things and perceptions. These are the abstractions and the empty concepts of Engels. His absolute materialism does not stand a moment in front of his own thought. He contradicts himself. If this contradiction was dialectic, we would applaud the intellectual exploit. This is not the case. These empty notions, these abstractions do not oppose one another. They oppose to nothing at all. They are not the result of any opposition between determinations of other actual entities. They are not dialectic.
Who else than Aristotle could still believe that the motion is within things, inherent in things? Marxists. You do not believe me? Then read this passage from Engels: “Among the properties inherent to the material, the motion is the first and best, not only as a mechanical and mathematical motion, but more like instinct, vital spirit, tendency, torment (using the expression of Jacob Boehme) of matter. The primitive forms of matter are living forces of nature, individual, inherent, and they produce the specific differences”.
The inherence of the marxist motion is more subtle than that of Aristotle. For Aristotle, the circular motion is inextricably linked to the ether, one of his principles. It is the same for other motions. In the dialectical materialism of Marx, the motion results from the opposition, the contradiction between things. Motion may seem be a relationship between things like opposition. It seems included in things as a whole and not in each individual thing as in Aristotle. The sailor could accept this position. It is well known that the motion is not in ourselves. The two approaches are not the same. The result is the same. The marxist motion is linked to two things in opposition, as a whole. It is totally independent of other motions that affect other things dialectically gathered in opposed pairs. There is some progress. Conversely, the motion of Aristotle is maintained; at least the circular motion of the ether. Instead the marxist motion of opposites is annihilated by the negation of negation. One term only remains at the end of the dialectical tragedy. One shall therefore create another opposition, a new motion, so that the body may have again a motion. It has no more motion if the master of dialectic has chosen it as the ultimate, extreme, absolute term, as universal. It is a huge step backwards compared to Aristotle.
question that arises in the background has not escaped marxists. The communist Garaudy,
for example, writes: “The first objection is to deny the existence of the
contradiction or of the naught in the nature of things.” Let me move back again
a little in front of the nothingness. The marxist
master-thinkers tell us what are the things and determination that are to be
opposed one another. However, things have many aspects depending on the angle
from which they are observed or on the point of view. What are the marxist criteria for selecting
oppositions within things and within the perceptions that we have of them? The
question is not very different from that of the motion. We all know the
Aristotle had also tried to bring life to oppositions. The seed shall rot so that the plant may live. There is nothing left of his huge fresco. Should I tell you again what is left of Marxism? You know it.
Broadly speaking, what Engels and Marx considered to be contradictions, consists only in differences. The examples that Engels took in physics are false, especially those which correspond to the forces of repulsion and attraction. In all cases, the contraries result from postulates that are interpretations of reality. Sometimes the two opposites are associated with a neutral. This is the case of electric charges. The case of magnetism is even more singular. The magnetic moment of electrons, the cause of magnetism, has no opposite. Like all vector quantities, the same entity has an orientation that differentiates its action depending on the orientation of the other vector of the same nature. It is purely artificial to call this differentiation an opposition.
There are categories that do not oppose, and others that oppose for some aspects. There are complex oppositions with three elements or even more, which can in no way be reduced to dialectical struggles against one another.
The struggle only makes real sense in the animal world and for humans. This is primarily a struggle of the like against the like. The fight for territory only opposes animals of the same species between them. They have the same instinct for possession. Similar, they struggle for the same territory and for the same food. The consequences can be dramatic. Is it enough to see in this opposition the very nature of animals and men? Is it enough to make a general system of the physical world?
There is even worse. The nominalist fusion of the physical world with the transcendental world places the absolute within matter. Oppositions, struggles have become, for Marx and Engels, the sole and absolute foundation of physical reality. Furthermore, these oppositions end in unity, as the universal Hegel. However, the unity of the universal of Hegel is understandable. These are ideas of the transcendental world. But when the transcendental world merged with the physical world, then these universals would become perceived things. The proletariat becomes a universal at the end of his struggle against its postulated opposite, the bourgeoisie. It remains the single class of supposedly classless Society. It is the universal class, absolute. However, one applauded this marxist idea that nothing can be absolute. The marxist is wallowing in inconsistency itself promoted to the rank of reality, his reality.
The Nominalist fusion of the physical world, the experimental world, with the transcendental world has an inverse consequence. The ideas, concepts or universal, as you want, mixed with things perceived, take determinations limited, imperfect, relative that characterise the things perceived. The subject is more passionate. This confusion allows any justifications. The good is now relative: let’s go merrily! You will not going very far. The beautiful is now relative: we shall not judge! We do not see anything very new.
Socrates, in all of this is classified as intruders. Marcus Aurelius? Pascal? Montaigne? La Rochefoucauld? Vauvenargues as well? The philosopher Alain first, perhaps? What strange questions? There is today much better than the hemlock: these moralists are sent back in History. They are not really forgotten. What can we learn from these thinkers of the past one tries to make past? We look at the label attached to each of them: it bears the words “best before”. The dates prove they are all outdated. Who put the dates? Who put these labels? One easily guesses by noting that nobody cared to put such labels to Marx and Engels.
Marxists historises the naught. Contradiction, therefore struggle. Lenin agrees: “in the proper sense, dialectic is the study of the contradiction in the very essence of things”. Mao Zedong adds “the contradiction is universal and absolute, it exists in all processes of development of things and pervades all phenomena and processes from beginning to end”. Faced with such pressing requests, “being” and “naught” rush against one another in a merciless struggle. The “being” hit in vacuum, of course. But unfortunately it is slaying by “naught”. It leaves room for naught in itself. And naught is ”spreading in the clefts of the being”. Being or naught, which will finally prevail? What is the direction of History? What says the historical materialism? Curiously, it did not answer. We fell reluctant to envisgae that the being is a reality bourgeois and the naught a reality proletarian. This is what we should think. Being involves possession, a typical bourgeois concept. One may say “he has being”. One can not say “he has naught”. However, “the validity of marxist theory lies in its objective which is to make possible a position, a demarcation between the viewpoints of the two great antagonistic classes”. Should Naught finally win?
Nobody would take a position on the outcome of this struggle of the being and the naught, both historised and materialised. This struggle could be only eternal, absolute. However, the eternal and the absolute are not determinations of perceptions and can not be in the experimental world. They are abstractions. Only abstractions of mind. They can not participate in any way to perceived reality. These are ideas, concepts, or universals accessible only to mind. What they are is summed up in one word: ideas. In other words, objects of thought, tools of mind, transcendental elements. The struggle of the being against the naught can not exist.
In an ultimate attempt not to despair Marxists, one might propose that the idea of naught does not exist. But we think the naught, so we need a replacement concept. One would think the naught while thinking of the idea of being associated with the idea of contradiction. This detour is in line with the economy, because the idea of contradiction could replace all the opposites of the transcendental world. Note that we could have deleted the being and retained the naught associated also with the contradiction. That would not be nice. The idea of being associated with the idea of contradiction, this is the naught.
This buoy is burst, worse, it is lead, and it sank. The idea of being is not the opposite of the idea of opposite. Where are therefore the contraries essential to the marxist universe? What happens to the struggle? We shall have recourse to semantics and intellectual contortions that Marxists do not seem to fear. The being opposes to the association of being with the contradiction; this is a kind of Economic Interest Group. Marxists will be the clerk and will register the act of association. The dialectic can then be put in motion. The fight began between the being and the association of the being with the contradiction. But there is clearly a conflict of interest prior to the act. The being is in the association and it is in the naught resulting from the act. This associated naught will try “spreading in the clefts of the being”. The being would only takes its property back with, perhaps, a compensation for the contradiction, under the pains and care. Nevertheless according to Marxists, the contradiction is already inherent in things. He should consider excessive such retribution, as shameful as the capitalist surplus value.
Materialists are pragmatic. Marxist inconsistencies that have been set forth, can be justified from this point of view. The absolute and universal peppering their texts probably do not have, in their mind, the determination of total and exclusive absolute and universal. To borrow a common procedure in physics, one could say that the materialists accept some approximation. This pragmatic practice is consistent with their attitude in life. In the social field, the classless Society, the communism is an ideal future. Marxists believe they fight today in the prospect of this becoming. They shall deal with reality. This was essentially the attitude of Lenin in the economical fields. This pragmatism with regard to the future is understandable. Marxists postponed the analysis of theoretical difficulties to future time. When the bourgeoisie will have disappeared, the materialism thought would be reconstructed on the basis of a unique thinking, expression of the proletarian class. While waiting, they shall understand the bourgeois thoughts in order to better fight against them. This needs somewhat altering the purity of their doctrinal arguments.
It is more difficult to accept that these approximations affect their analysis of capitalist Society. Raymond Aron rightly raises the issue of the surplus value, fundamental in the marxist doctrine. It has never been calculated. Its determinations were chosen by Marx and remain purely qualitative. The passage to quantity is impracticable. These determinations are in fact contingent. They do not only depend on the time and place, but also on psychology. I have, in fact, nothing to add to criticism of Raymond Aron. I am not an economist and I give only here a summary of his economical arguments against Marxism.
Marxists seem to accept an approximate naught. The physicist calls it a vacuum. A vacuum a little more void than Space that still contains some gas and various atoms. This leaves much things. If we can eliminate, by a wall of concrete lined with steel, a fairly wide band of electromagnetic waves, many are passing by. It remains inevitably particles like neutrinos passing through the Earth without any difficulty. This gives a vacuum reasonable. Electromagnetic fields may be, by the same means, reduced to values inaccessible to measurement. Remains the gravitational field. If is only a curvature of space it is a vacuum. After such an effort, we can assume that the materialist is not very far from absolute vacuum, from the naught. He finally has reason not to complicate life and leave it at that.
This is written nowhere in the marxist literature. Engels had the same reasoning for the infinitely small and infinitely large. It will be difficult for the Marxists to challenge that excuse that I give them. The pragmatic approximation is as a lifeline keeping their heads above the inconsistency, fatal in science. Because, let us not forget, “dialectical materialism is nothing but the scientific explanation of the universe”.
Unfortunately, the naught that we conceive, with our bourgeois mind perhaps, is still far more empty. As the infinitely small is infinitely smaller than the smallest corpuscles around us. The infinitely large, infinitely larger than the largest galaxy clusters. Infinitely greater even than the universe we can observe. Naught is absolutely nothing, infinity is absolutely limitless. These ideas are not approximations. Everyone can conceive them. Our mind conceives that two parallels do not cut, which goes far beyond the figure of the master on the blackboard, even repeated many times. As large as this number, the representation of the straight line is still infinitely short compared to infinity of idea of the straight line. I say really infinitely short. Our thought of infinite is still infinite compared to the finite, as large as it could be.
The ideas of infinite, of naught, have no practical use, certainly. The philosophy is not dependent on a practical use. It is thinking to the processes of thought, of mind. Deny the specific nature of ideas leads to inconsistencies. By which the philosophy is not without practical consequences. We forget it. Philosophy only exposes the error. It builds nothing. We want to forget errors. We buried at the same time the philosopher. We do not need him any more. Hence the contempt of materialists, realists and pragmatics for Socrates and Plato. Hence the contempt of Marxists for the philosopher Alain.
We can say, by image, that the being exists and that the naught exists. That the being has the being, is something that seems easy to accept. That naught exists, it looks extremely strange. However, the difficulty is the same. In saying that the being has the being, we talk to say nothing. In saying that naught has the being, one speaks by provocation. In both cases, the mind is disarmed. It is disarmed for millennia; Socrates already raised the question of the being and the naught, and others before him. Ideas have no history. Engels was not embarrassed by that. He wrote: “ideas are changing because things are changing”. He referred to historical ideas, materialised ideas of Marxists, to approximations.
Incidentally, it is important to understand the difficulty of this vision. I wrote “existence of ideas”. This is something impossible to write. The existence is one of those ideas. Do we have access to the knowledge of existence? What does mean this word “exist”? What is the being so close to the naught that participate to being? What Sartre wanted to say in this amazing shortcut “naught bears being in his heart”? He merges idea, thing and sentiment. It is also mixing three ideas, and the difficulty is no less.
Perhaps, we might better speak of the consciousness of ideas rather than the existence of ideas. Some practice in the dialogues of Plato, that is in the thinking of Socrates, shows that the difficulty is even greater. Descartes with his famous “Cogito, ergo sum”, I think, therefore I am, refers to the act of thinking and consciousness of thinking. Without doubt, but the conscience of thinking is it known in another way than an idea? The existence also is only known as an idea. The existence is known only as part of the transcendental world. Then what means: “I am”? How to define an idea? Descartes was able to say that because he had first identified existence to space in an indefinite point of view. He has not an absolute view of Space. Space is what is left of the piece of beeswax, evaporated in the heat of the fingers. This undefined space is first experimental. Also, his famous statement is not paradoxical, from his point of view.
Marxism wanted to make of the dialectical materialism the reality. It finally collapsed, exhausted after having crashed so many innocents, having destroyed so many lives, having deceived so much hope.
A famous archiepiscopal progressive and additionally cardinal, wrote: “Is it necessary to dread that the contradictions [of the economic and financial world] of this beginning of millennium end in a dramatic crisis? Can then the social tsunami which it risks to produce to be the one of the solidarity”.
This is hoping for huge wars to see flourishing the courage of heroes!
This is waiting for the Apocalypse to see a proliferation of saints!
But this is not the essence of this invocation. What happens more than a century after the death of Marx? The globalisation of the economy has taken such an extension that it occupies people’s minds. Some nostalgic of historical materialism and of the end of History think they have found in the “Capital” an idea that seems similar.
In fact, the marxist concept of “global market” is actually the antithesis of globalisation. The marxist concept concerns the extension of competition to the world. Marx “vote for free trade”. Global competition would have only accelerated the industrial concentration and thus accelerated the fundamental contradiction of capitalism according to Marx analysis. The concentration refers to the monopoly that eliminates competition, the basis of capitalism. The “world market” of Marx involved only the developed countries with industries and with an equivalent level of development. This is in no way the problem of globalisation. The “Capital” does not leave any ambiguity. The following passages are particularly evident:
“The industrial capitalist has always in mind the world-market” (The Capital Volume 3 page 317) and “In the competition of individual capitalists between themselves as well as in the competition on the world-market.” (p 788) (see also Volume 3 p 800 note 9 on chapter 6 p 819 and note 11 on chapter 30, written by Engels).
The contradiction of capitalism is exposed on several occasions. We may retain the following passage:
“The competition has been replaced by monopoly (through the capitalist concentration required by the price lowering)….. This is the abolition of the capitalist mode of production within the capitalist mode of production itself, and hence a self-dissolving contradiction, which prima facie represents a mere phase of transition to a new form of production. It manifests itself as such a contradiction in its effects. It establishes a monopoly in certain spheres and thereby requires state interference. It reproduces a new financial aristocracy, a new variety of parasites in the shape of promoters, speculators and simply nominal directors; a whole system of swindling and cheating by means of corporation promotion, stock issuance, and stock speculation. It is private production without the control of private property.” (Volume 3 page 410)
Another example is the following passage, remarkable for the use of superlatives and impressive statements devoid of any quantified justification, leading inexorably to the Apocalypse of capitalism.
“Three cardinal facts of capitalist production:
1) Concentration of means of production in few hands;
2) Organisation of labour itself into social labour: through co-operation, division of labour, and the uniting of labour with the natural sciences. In these two senses, the capitalist mode of production abolishes private property and private labour, even though in contradictory forms.
3) Creation of the world-market.
The stupendous productivity developing under the capitalist mode of production relative to population, and the increase, if not in the same proportion, of capital-values (not just of their material substance), which grow much more rapidly than the population, contradict the basis, which constantly narrows in relation to the expanding wealth, and for which all this immense productiveness works. They also contradict the conditions under which this swelling capital augments its value. Hence the crises”. (Volume 3 page 258)
Marx was unable to provide any quantified justification. From the beginning, as got indignant at it Aron, he did not calculate the surplus value and none of his emulators was able to do it even with the powerful meanss of calculation which we have today.
Marx mentions another problem, which should have been exacerbated by the extension of the global market. This problem is independent of the extent of the global market. The development of colonial empires did not result in any way from the constraints of the global market, but in the needs of national markets, both in terms of supply and trade outlets. We may retain the following passage:
ruining by the competition their native workforce, the mechanical engineering
industry transforms the overseas markets (the colonies) into production fields of
raw material.” (The Capital, Volume 1 page 321).
It refers to the engineering industry in developed countries. The native word
This problem, which became independent from any colonial idea, could be attached to what is now called globalisation. Yet the reality has no connection with the prophecies of Marx.
of developing countries is not ruined by capitalism as these natives has nothing,
not even work, for centuries. On the contrary, the industries relocated in
these countries bring them labour and wages. After allowing the development of
countries called the dragons of the
The second point of Marx’s assertion concerns the raw materials. There has been a longstanding element of truth. It has become negligible. Why? Energy is the foundation of development of the industry. The possibility to access the energy sources is the fundamental condition for the existence of the industry. A statement which would not be based upon this enormous evidence can only be null and void. This applies to the assertion of Marx.
first energy source is oil. The world’s largest producer of oil is a desert
country. The manpower in the oil industry has long been essentially Western.
Today it is largely indigenous, but by far among the best paid of the planet.
The unconditional admirers of Marx retreat back to some specific raw material, some specific industry in some specific countries. They may say that the exception proves the rule, but this is the opposite because the marxist rule is the exception, valid perhaps in special cases. Globalisation was the last aspect of the doctrine of Marx that could have a part of reality.
Marxist praxis has led many countries to the most atrocious misery. Failing to see the glowing dawn of new days, the Earth was covered with rivers of blood of innocent victims of totalitarian socialism. The doctrine itself is false. Social, economical and financial categories defined by Marx became without any content, aimless. The contradictions they were attributed never existed. Instead of the dialectical opposition which would lead to the systematic elimination of one of the categories, under the doctrine of the scientific dialectical materialism, we contemplate, in fact, emergence of “groups more and more differentiated”, of practices increasingly diversified, of credit facilities and hedging increasingly complex.
The Hegelian universal, materialised by Marx, were transformed into a universe of uniform appearance, but in reality based upon a plethora of techniques, tools and products. Far from representing unity, the diffusion of cultures in the world is a factor of diversity, mutual enrichment, mutual knowledge, factors leading to peace among men certainly far more than the universal application of an abstruse doctrine without neither basis nor justification.
Far from restoring any meaning to the marxist doctrine, globalisation today is not at all involved in the termination of postulated contradictions in the current economy. Globalisation described by Marx has, once again, no relation to the current phenomenon.
principle of Marxism is struggle. Dialectic struggle of
opposites. Elimination struggle. The principle
of Marxism is hatred. It began with fists raised in the screams of his first
cry “death to the bourgeoisie.” He continued in the most heinous crimes in
One must be blind to see in Marx the prophet of the Apocalypse. Even worse, part of its doctrine, the dialectical materialism, is obsolete; how to draw of it the nature of future?
Marx was not a prophet because that Apocalypse was not to take place in the future. Apocalypse has been the implementation of marxist doctrine. It was the doctrine itself. It ends in the demise of marxism.
Other opportunities are coming with a new millennium and a new century.
Horror! It is still the Apocalypse! The terror of muslim integrisms. And that terror begins with suicides.
Titles of works referred to
Ecrits philosophiques et politiques T1
Intervention à l’Institut cité par Monod.
Philosophie de l’Histoire ;
Le marxisme de Marx.
Contre-feux 2 ; Raisons pratiques.
La pensée de Marx.
Dialectique de la Nature ; L’anti Durhing ;
Socialisme utopique et scientifique.
Encyclopédie des sciences abrégés ;
Leçons sur l’histoire de la philosophie ;
La petite logique (trad. Véra) ; La phénoménologie de l’esprit ;
Théorie générale de l’emploi, de l’intérêt et de la monnaie.
Matérialisme et empiriocritique (Ed Sociales)
Le capital ; Travail salaire capital ; Economie politique et philosophie 1844.
La Révolution Française (Laffond)
Recherches sur la nature et la cause de la richesse des nations.
Le savant et le politique ; Economie et société ; L’éthique protestante et l’esprit du capitalisme
Commentaires guerre des gaules
La maison Rothschild
Le travail forcé en URSS
Le courrier de Lyon