Friday, May 11, 2018

Irfan Habib — Karl Marx And His Conception Of History


Good summary of the basic Marxist world view, which Marx got essentially correct in my view. It's what we now call economic sociology/anthropology. In my view also, economic sociologists and economic anthropologists are much closer to getting it right than theoretical economists, most of whom have lost the big picture by overly limiting the scope and scale of their inquiry.

NewsClick (India)
Karl Marx And His Conception Of History
Irfan Habib

(Irfan means wisdom, gnosis in Arabic. Habib means the Beloved.)

1 comment:

jrbarch said...

“Good summary of the basic Marxist world view, which Marx got essentially correct in my view” [TomH]

Who else should get a Marxist world view right than Marx?
(That was a joke Tom – I know what you really mean)!


From the Irfan Habib article:
In the first place, Marx regards the striving for the fulfilment of man’s material wants as the basic aspect of the functioning of human social formations....

But as soon as agriculture developed, man began to produce a “surplus”, or an amount of produce beyond what was needed for the bare subsistence of the producer. Society would now be divided into classes, into those who produced, and those who forced the producers to part with the surplus...

In other words, the realm of consciousness is limited by the material possibilities existing at the time. But there are other limitations as well; and past societies have failed to achieve a complete rational vision of themselves. Thus persons belonging to particular classes, e.g. peasants, may fail to see themselves as members of the particular class, to which they may actually belong. Religion has often played a part in obscuring such rational perceptions. Marx accordingly had very early called religion “the opium of the people....”

Such liberation of consciousness is related to the possibilities created by material factors — machinery, modern technology, economies of scale — for the overthrow of class-exploitation and the establishment of Socialism....


First of all I think Marx was a great man, simply because he believed in human beings and wanted to be of some service. But he was looking in the wrong direction; but still did the best he could from that viewpoint. If he had known that Spirit and Matter are opposite poles of the same thing, he would not have derived all of his solutions in the material world. He would have understood causation arising in Being rather than the personality expression. Man’s effort to fulfil himself through material means an unconscious attempt to fulfil energies arising from his spiritual nature. And yes, the political, economic, religious and material life of the personality, often serve to obscure. He was a good guy, an aspirant - but not Patanjali.