By Derek Sayer
The character of modernity, and its reference to capitalism, are questions on the leading edge of up to date sociological debate. Derek Sayer re-examines the solutions given by way of Karl Marx and Max Weber, authors of 2 of the main profound sociological opinions of modernity. His reassessment of Marx and Weber on capitalism and modernity presents a brand new examining which finds the impressive consonances among their sociologies of the trendy . Going past the well known stereotypes of the Marx-Weber debate', Professor Sayer exhibits that either Marx and Weber produced a not easy critique of the character of strength and subjectivity in sleek society, a critique which keeps all its highbrow strength and ethical relevance this present day.
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Extra resources for Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber
The worker constantly augments the value of capital, his products assuming the form of ‘an alien power that dominates and exploits him’; ‘on quitting the process, he is what he was on entering it, a source of wealth, but devoid of all means of making that wealth his own’ (1867a:570–1). ‘He’, of course, notwithstanding capitalism’s modern domestication of women, is—and was, in the Satanic mills of England’s green and pleasant land, long before Marx was writing—also she. The extent to which the early industrial revolution was made on the backs of women and their children needs underlining (Pinchbeck 1981); to be fair, it is documented in detail in Capital.
Power and the subject 39 Just as the material specificity of use value is effaced in exchange value, so are the differential material circumstances of real individuals ignored in this fictio juris who is the ideal subject of bürgerliche Gesellschaft. This is crucial, as we shall see, to Marx’s analysis of the modern state. It is also paradigmatic, I shall argue, of a great deal more in modernity’s representations of subjectivity. 2 But there is another, and a very much darker, side to modern individualism as Marx analyses it.
Capitalism in this instance is revolutionary only in the most destructive of ways. It creates what is then represented as a primeval stagnation. Marx here anticipates a large twentieth-century literature, from Lenin and Trotsky to Frank and Wallerstein, which sees the global spread of capitalism as engendering a hierarchical ordering of cores and peripheries in which the prosperity of the former and the poverty of the latter are two sides of a single coin. This world order arguably sustains that Orientalism which, in other contexts, Marx himself unthinkingly replicates.
Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber by Derek Sayer