David Schweickart
Loyola University, Chicago
The remarks that follow are not the work of a China specialist. I am a philosopher who has spent most of his scholarly life--from my days as a graduate student in the early 1970s to the present--grappling with one of the great lacunas in Marx=s work. As everyone knows, Marx thought that capitalism will eventually be replaced by a higher form of society that will resolve humanity's economic problem. He characterized this ultimate Acommunism@ in various ways: rather whimsically as a socio-economic order that allows us to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, criticize after dinner, without ever becoming hunters, fishermen or a critical critics; more seriously, in accordance with the need for a compelling political slogan, as one that allows us to work according to our abilities and consume according to our needs; more philosophically, as one that reduces the realm of necessity to a minimum so as to maximize the realm of freedom. But Marx was no utopian dreamer. He knew that we would have to pass through a transitional stage to get from capitalism to this truly human society. This would be a stage marked by its origins, hence imperfect, even in theory, and yet capable of surmounting the fundamental contradictions of capitalism.
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