This paper examines a series of Schelling-like models of residential segregation, in which agents prefer to be in the minority. We demon- strate that as long as agents care about the characteristics of their wider community, they tend to end up in a segregated state. We then investigate the process that causes this, and conclude that the result hinges on the similarity of informational states amongst agents of the same type. This is quite di erent from Schelling-like behavior, and sug- (...) gests (in his terms) that segregation is an instance of macro behavior which can arise from a wide variety of micro motives. (shrink)
Free market environmentalists believe that the extension of private property rights and market transactions is sufficient to address environmental difficulties. But there is no invisible hand operating in markets that ensures that environmentally sound practices will be employed just because property rights are in private hands. Also, liability laws and the court systems cannot be relied upon to force polluters to internalize the social costs of pollution. Third, market prices do not provide an objective measure of environmental matters. Finally, there (...) is a right to a livable environment that justifies regulations protecting the public from unreasonable environmental risks. (shrink)
In his recent work The Myth of Dialectics John Rosenthal presents a forceful polemic against Hegel and Marxists sympathetic to the Hegelian legacy. The methodology Hegel employed, his metaphysical assertions, his rejection of the principles of formal logic, and the political implications of his standpoint, are all fundamentally incompatible with Marx’s perspective, according to Rosenthal. While Rosenthal grants that Marx did make use of Hegelian motifs in his theory of value, even this is not to Hegel’s credit: the very perversity (...) of Hegel’s thought made it useful for the comprehension of the perversity of capital. In this paper I argue that a close and reasonably charitable reading of Hegel’s Logic reveals a quite different picture of his methodology and ontological commitments from that presented by Rosenthal. While there are profound substantive differences between the Hegelian and Marxian 1 perspectives on capitalist society, it is not the case that Hegel’s Logic is homologous with capital. The Logic provides helpful conceptual resources for a critique of capital. In the final section of the paper five areas are briefly sketched in which Hegelian dialectical logic remains of contemporary interest. (shrink)
Smith begins with a comprehensive analysis of social theory, presents a defense of Jurgen Habermas' main contribution to social ethics and contrasts Habermas' rational foundation for ethics with the decisionism defended by Max Weber, and ...
Tony Smith Philosophy, Iowa State University Robert Brenner‟s recent monograph on the economics of global turbulence has renewed interest in one of the most important topics in Marxian thought, the theory of crisis tendencies in capitalism.1 In their introduction to Brenner‟s monograph the editors of The New Left Review praise him as a worthy successor to Marx in the strongest possible terms. In the eyes of a number of critics, however, Brenner is guilty of a major betrayal of Marx‟s legacy. (...) In Michael Lebowitz‟s view, for instance, Brenner should now be seen as a disciple of Adam Smith, not Karl Marx, while Fine, Lapavitsas, and Milonakis refer to Brenner‟s position as “a distinctly non-Marxist perspective.”. (shrink)
No one would dispute that it is impossible to understand the intellectual and political history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries without taking Karl Marx (1818-83) into account. Most believe, however, that Marx‘s legacy was buried once and for all in the rubble of the Berlin Wall. This consensus is mistaken. It would be foolish to assert that Marx anticipated the correct answer to every significant question facing us today. But it would be no less foolish to deny that Marx‘s (...) work presents a powerful challenge to contemporary political philosophy. (shrink)
Like most terms in social theory, the term "conservative" is profoundly ambiguous and contested. In the United States today the word is often applied to those who call for an absolute minimum of government interference in capitalist markets. In another meaning it refers to those who insist that social life should center on the preservation of a community’s traditions and cultural values. There is a deep tension between these two viewpoints. Capitalist markets left to themselves radically destabilize established communities, and (...) so preserving cultural traditions and values requires political intervention in economic life. Given this ineluctable tension it is probably best not to use the same term to refer to both positions. In the present paper I shall refer to the former perspective, whose intellectual roots are found in the "classical liberalism" of John Locke and others, as "neoliberalism." The latter perspective will be referred to as "neoconservatism.". (shrink)
In the Marxian theory of capital the term "dialectics" refers primarily to three endeavours: the systematic reconstruction of the essential determinations of capital (systematic dialectics), the reconstruction of the main lines of capitalist development (a species of historical dialectics), and the dialectics of theory and practice. In the first section of this paper I shall discuss some essential features of systematic dialectics in..
Agricultural biotechnology is a social pursuit, undertaken by social agents within social institutions.1 Any attempt to explore the social dimensions of a profound and complex technological development such as biotechnology is bound to be controversial, and any attempt to formulate an ethical assessment of such a development is bound to be yet more complex and controversial. This surely explains why many choose to ignore these inquiries. But the social dimensions of biotechnology are just as real as viruses, bacteria, enzymes, and (...) cells. To refuse to investigate them with the same seriousness that viruses, bacteria, enzymes and cells are investigated is to place an arbitrary restriction on the scope of rational inquiry. (shrink)
Chris Arthur‟s body of work counts as a very important and original contribution to systematic dialectics, and I have profited immensely from his writings over the years. However we disagree on a number of points. Some have to do with the relatively secondary question of the intellectual relationship between Hegel and Marx; others involve more substantive matters. In his reply to my review of Joseph McCarney‟s Hegel on History Arthur distinguishes three different versions of the thesis that there is a (...) “homology” between the logic of capital (in a Marxian understanding of it) and Hegel‟s “idea.” I shall comment briefly on each and then conclude with a general remark. (shrink)
It is certainly possible to overestimate the practical importance of arguments for the normative legitimacy of global capitalism. But normative arguments continue to circulate in the social world, and it would be foolish to think that they do so without significant social effects. As long as ideological defenses of capitalism continue to be produced, there will be a need for ideology critiques.
Extreme monetary policies successfully prevented the “Great Recession” of 2007–2009 from turning into a global depression. However, they did not address the underlying problems in global capitalism. In recent years prominent “insiders” of global capitalism have proposed reforms designed to remedy these defects. I argue that these proposals are inadequate, due in great part to a failure to acknowledge a profound change in the “deep structure” of capitalism. Technological change, which in the past has contributed so much to the dynamism (...) of capitalism development, no longer does so. The need for extreme monetary policies in the aftermath of the Great Recession of 2007–2009, the failure of these policies, and the lack of plausible alternatives to them, are all symptoms of an underlying disease beyond cure. A path towards a democratic form of socialism must be forged for the simple yet compelling reason Rosa Luxemburg articulated: it is a matter of socialism or barbarism. (shrink)
Our massive tampering with the world's interdependent web of life-coupled with the environmental damage inflicted by deforestation, species loss, and climate change-could trigger widespread adverse effects, including unpredictable collapses of critical biological systems whose interactions and dynamics we only imperfectly understand. Uncertainty over the extent of these effects cannot excuse complacency or delay in facing the threats ... We the undersigned, senior members of the world's scientific community, hereby warn all humanity of what lies ahead. A great change in our (...) stewardship of the earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided and our global home on this planet is not to be irretrievably mutilated. (Union of Concerned Scientists, 1992). (shrink)
economists. According to Rosenberg, Milton Friedman's positive methodology is being supplanted by Lakatos's methodology of scientific research programs (MSRP). At any rate, the Kuhnian wave of the seventies is being swallowed up by the Lakatosian program. (Redman 142) There have been a number of attempts to comprehend mainstream (bourgeois) economics as a Lakatosian research program, or as a set of competing research programs. (Latsis, ed. passim; de Marchi and Blaug, eds.)i In contrast, the extent to which the Marxian study of (...) capitalism can be interpreted from this perspective has hardly been explored.ii In the following sections some provisional steps in this direction will be taken. I shall first introduce a reading of Marx's Capital that emphasizes the systematic dialectic of economic categories unifying that work. I shall then ask whether we can arrive at a better understanding of Marx's systematic dialectic through considering how it contributes to a scientific research 1 program in Lakatos's sense of the term. Two other themes will arise along the way. Certain shortcomings in Lakatos's framework will be discussed. Also, a number of reasons for considering the Marxian research program superior to that of neoclassical economics will be mentioned. It should be stressed that the main topic of the present paper is the role of systematic dialectics in the Marxian research program. The other themes go far beyond the scope of single paper. Lakatos's work can be understood as a response to the dead-end of naive falsificationism. According to this simplistic methodology, theories are to be tested by deducing predictions from them and then determining whether the events predicted occur. If the predicted events do take place at some later time, this does not verify the validity of the theory. That would be to commit the fallacy of affirming the consequent; there may be many other theories that also lead to the prediction in question. In contrast, if the predicted events do not take place, that is sufficient to falsify the proposed theory.. (shrink)
The three volumes of Capital form an immensely complex work, including a variety of quite different sorts of texts. Marx’s systematic ordering of the essential determinations of capital, beginning in Volume I with relatively simple and abstract social forms and then proceeding step by step to ever more complex and concrete determinations provides a unifying thread. Many fundamental structures of the capitalist mode of production remained to be considered at the point where Marx left off in Volume III. At one (...) point, at least, Marx planned to conclude his project with volumes on the state, foreign trade, and the world market and crisis (Marx 1973, 227, 264). This paper is devoted to two questions. Why exactly did Marx place the category of the world market at the very culmination of his systematic ordering? And what are the essential features of the social form referred to by this category? Before addressing these issues some further methodological remarks are in order. (shrink)
When, where, and how should the promotion of human rights and democracy abroad figure in American foreign policy? A compelling way for liberals to influence this debate is to underscore a Wilsonian agenda's relevance to national security.
The main argument in favor of neoliberalism is simple enough: individuals will freely exchange whenever mutual gains result. It follows that restricting trade and investment across borders both infringes liberty and prevents people from enjoying benefits. At this point an appeal is made to historical evidence: previously poor regions have lifted more people out of poverty at a faster rate than ever before in human history by opening up to trade and investment. Neoliberal theorists and policy makers conclude..
In a world where exploitation and uneven development condemn billions to suffering, the proper understanding of the intellectual relationship between Hegel and Marx appears a small matter indeed. Marx‟s Capital, however, remains the single most important text for comprehending the system that generates this suffering. The question of the proper reading of this work thus remains important. Sooner or later this brings us to the Hegel/Marx question. In a recent article in Science and Society John Rosenthal forcefully argues that there (...) is one and only one place where Hegelian themes play a role in Capital (Rosenthal 1999). In Rosenthal‟s view, Marx‟s description of the relationship between money and ordinary commodities deliberately echoes the relationship between universals and finite things in Hegel‟s system of idealism. The fact that Marx found this aspect of Hegel‟s thought useful is not at all to Hegel‟s credit. According to Rosenthal, Hegel‟s thought perversely grants abstractions priority over flesh and blood human subjects in a way that exactly parallels the way money, a “real abstraction,” perversely dominates social agents in capitalism. Apart from this, Rosenthal insists, Marx abandons his earlier experiments with Hegelian motifs in Capital. In specific, nothing like Hegelian dialectics can be found, a “methodology” based on bad puns and spurious reasoning. In order to justify this thesis Rosenthal attacks on two main fronts. First, he hopes to convince the reader that Hegel‟s use of the key terms “universality,” 1 “particularity,” and “individuality” is irredeemably flawed. Rosenthal complains that Hegel‟s term “universality” is systematically ambiguous, sometimes referring to the relatively more inclusive, on other occasions to the all-inclusive. The sense of the term “particularity” shifts in Hegel‟s writings between what is relatively unique (“bare” particularity) and what is relatively more determinate (“specificity”).. (shrink)
This book is quite simply the best study of the "young Marx" (pre-1848) and his immediate predecessors I have ever read. For supporters of the ancient régime in the first half of the nineteenth century, the failure of the French Revolution meant that everything could now go back to “normal.” But for the thinkers Kouvelakis examines — Kant, Hegel, Heine, Hess, Engels, and Marx — the Revolution’s promise of emancipation was merely deferred, not defeated. What exactly did that mean? Answers (...) differed greatly. (shrink)