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Title: Karl Marx and Classical Antiquity: A Bibliographic Introduction Author(s): George E. McCarthy Source: Helios. 26.

2 (Fall 1999): p165. Document Type: Bibliography Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1999 Texas Tech University Press http://www.ttup.ttu.edu/JournalPages/Helios.html Full Text: The last two decades of the twentieth century have seen a flood of works on Marx and classical antiquity. This essay will provide a short bibliographic introduction to the range of issues and questions discussed in some of these writings. The authors of this journal issue nicely add to these important analyses: Neville Morley and Niall McKeown take the position that the traditional study of classical history and economics has been inadequate and that Marxist analysis is crucial to an examination of ancient Greek society. In his essay "Marx and the Failure of Antiquity," Morley outlines the neglect of economic issues in classical Greece by nineteenth-century political economists and historians with their emphasis on ahistorical and universal categories of economic theory. Modern economic ideas about capital, bourgeois society, market economy, and capitalism, according to Morley, were statically imposed upon ancient society without an awareness of the implications of this approach. The noted exception to this w as Karl Marx, who was conscious of the break between modernity and the ancients: "Marx's brief passing comments on antiquity are far more sophisticated and provocative than those of most contemporary, and indeed later, historians." Marx stressed the ancient mode of production with its different class structure and unique social relations of production based on an independent peasantry, absence of capital and free wage labor, underdeveloped material technology, production for use value rather than exchange value, marginalization of money and a market economy, and the use of slavery; competition, the drive for exchange value, and possessive individualism--characteristics of modern society-were noticeably absent in the Greek world. Many of these important historical insights are picked up later in the scholarly tradition by Max Weber, Johannes Hasebroek, Karl Polanyi, and Moses Finley. McKeown, in his essay "Some Thoughts on Marxism and Ancient Greek History," continues to examine the relationship (or lack thereof) between Marxism and British ancient historians. He is interested in laying out a general introduction to Marxist-inspired authors such as JeanPierre Vernant, Maurice Godelier, Barry Hindess, Paul Hirst, Geoffrey de Ste. Croix, and Ellen Wood. These authors have stressed the importance of political institutions over economic ones as the basis for understanding the distinctiveness of the class structure and the mode of production of ancient society. For those wishing to study the structural transformation of medieval society as it moved towards modernity, McKeown recommends the works of E. J. Hobsbawm, E. P. Thompson, Perry Anderson, and R. H. Hilton. To supplement what he thinks are inadequacies in the approaches of the first group of authors, McKeown turns to two other scholarly sources: East European Marxism and the historical sociology of the mid-1980s. East Europeans, such as E. Welskopf, I. Hahn, H. Kippenberg, R. Gunther, and G. Bockisch, attempted to see ancient Greece in terms of its productive forces (technology), social relations of production (Asiatic peasant farming), and cultural superstructure. Historical sociology was influenced by Max Weber and represented by the works of W. G. Runciman and Michael Mann. Both of these schools of thought were critical of the overemphasis of historical explanation on the economic conditions of ancient Greece alone, and viewed social change in terms of a more complex interrelationship among economic, military, ideological, and political transformations.

Turning to a different area of research in political and social philosophy, much work has been written detailing the connections between Marx and Aristotle, including an analysis of their theories of objectification and the relation between Aristotle's four causes and Marx's concept of labor (C. Gould); the cultural ideals of the Greek polis and Marx's notion of labor (P. Kain, P. Springborg, and R. Bernstein); the concept of activity in both Marx's theory of social praxis and the Metaphysics and Nicomachean Ethics (T. Rockmore); Aristotle's theory of ethics and virtuous life and Marx's social ethics (G. Brenkert); classical political freedom in the public sphere and Marx's concept of human emancipation (H. Arendt, S. Hook, and H. Mewes); Aristotle's definition of man as zoon politikon and Marx's view of species being (I. Meszaros); Aristotle's and Marx's theories of nature and materialism (D. Rouse); their common philosophical anthropology (D. Depew); their sociological analyses of class (G. de Ste. Croix); their theories of need, use and exchange value, and communal needs (oikonomia) and unnatural wants (chrematistike) (P. Springborg, H. Seidel, and A. Heller); and Aristotle's theory of happiness as eudaimonia and Marx's view of self-realization (A. Gilbert, W. McBride, R. Miller, M. Nussbaum, and N. Levine). (1) There is also much secondary literature written on Marx's doctoral dissertation ("Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature in General" [1841]) and his relation to post-Aristotelian philosophy of nature by Cyril Bailey, Rolf Sannwald, Gunther Hillmann, Laurence Baronovitch, and Peter Fenves. In his dissertation, Marx outlines Epicurus' theory of physics and materialism by detailing his view of the atom and its three forms of motion: movement in a straight line, deviation or curving away from a straight line, and repulsion of atoms from each other. Rejecting the unchanging universality of Greek metaphysics and the atomic theory of Democritus, which argues for a mechanistic and deterministic universe, Epicurus describes a cosmos of chance possibilities and natural freedom. Marx characterizes Epicurus' atom as the pure concept (Begriff) or formal principle that underlies determinate being. The atom is the essential form of physical reality which shapes phenomena through the declination and repulsion of its interaction with other atoms--that is, the world is constituted through chance possibilities as atoms swerve, attract, and repulse each other in unpredictable ways. This same perspective is applied to Epicurus' theory of astronomical physics and the motion of meteors. The underlying motivation beh ind Epicurus' physics is his critique of Greek theology and his belief in freedom and self-consciousness. This is why Marx refers to him as "the greatest figure of the Greek Enlightenment." The Socratic values of human freedom and individual rationality become real possibilities only by storming heaven and by challenging the underlying metaphysical assumptions of a static and unchanging universe. According to Epicurus, science must be subordinate to the imperatives of ethics insofar as the goal of knowledge lies in the emancipation of the human mind from the terrors of the heavens and the absolute laws to which individuals have become subservient and passive. These ideas pervade the whole of Marx's early writings on alienation and false consciousness, as well as his theory of needs and human emancipation, species being, and creative self-realization (praxis). Freedom and rationality become the idealist core of his early critical materialism. In his later writings, these same ideas reappear as a critique of fe tishism and the idolatry of the universal laws of capitalism. What has received much less attention is the influence of Greek philosophy on the later development of Marx's analysis of capital and critique of political economy. Throughout the first volume of Capital (1867) are seven specific references to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Politics (2) which Marx uses to criticize market exchange and industrial production and to introduce Aristotle's views on value, solidarity, moral economy, and critique of

chrematistike or unnatural acquisition. (1) In Chapter 1, when examining the nature of commodities, Marx uses Aristotle's theory of value to help facilitate discussion about the value and commensurability of commodities and the social basis of commodity exchange. (2) At the end of the same chapter, in the section devoted to the fetishism of commodities, he mentions slavery and the classical social relations of production. The emphasis here is on the need to examine economic conditions within a broader perspective of history and the social totality. (3) At the beginni ng of Chapter 2 on the nature of money and simple commodity exchange, he introduces Aristotle's distinction between use value and exchange value. (4) In Chapter 4, which details the transition from a market economy and simple circulation of commodities to the circulation of capital in commerce (M-C-M), he explains Aristotle's distinction between economics, as an exchange of use value for the satisfaction of human needs, and chrematistics, as unnatural and destructive money and profit accumulation. (5) In Chapter 5, Marx raises the distinction between merchants' capital and moneylenders' capital (usury) in terms of economics and chrematistics. (6) In Part 3 of the same volume, Marx switches gears from commerce, exchange, and the market to industry, capitalist production, and surplus value. In this section he reminds the reader of Aristotle's view of man as a political animal and the collective and communal nature of production and the species being. (7) Finally, in Chapter 15 on machinery and modem industry, h e discusses the contradictions between the emancipatory potential of modern technology and the increasing exploitation of wage labor. Thus, at key places throughout the first volume of Capital, as he deconstructs the nature of market exchange, capitalist commerce, merchant and banking profits, industrial production, profit accumulation, and wage labor, Marx turns to Aristotle for insights and understanding. He borrows extensively from Aristotle's theories of value, economics, chrematistics, community, social nature of production, and economic technology. As Marx moves from exchange, circulation, and money to capital, he rewrites and updates Aristotle's ethical and political writings. He grounds his critique of modernity and liberalism in Aristotle's view of friendship, community, happiness, and political self-realization. Measured against the classical world, modernity distorts the very institutions and values that provide the potential for individual development and political freedom (ethical critique). Even by society's own utilitarian standards of formal equality, natural rights, abstract justice, individual freedom, and market rationali ty, the economy is contradictory and irrational (dialectical and immanent critique). The moral values of a simple market exchange in commerce cannot support or justify the institutional weight of factory production, wage slavery, abstract labor, and the class expropriation and exploitation of surplus value. According to Marx, Aristotle rejected chrematistics, or commercial profits, since it undermines the moral foundation of the political community; transforms human needs into artificial market wants; turns economics into the unlimited and unnatural acquisition of material goods and profits; distorts the ends of household management with the goal of profit maximization; confuses the good life of the polis with biological life; and converts moral virtues into means for property acquisition. (3) The moral foundations for natural exchange are perverted into means for money making and accumulation of property. The very foundations of the Athenian polis--its values, goals, and ideals--were undermined and distorted for purposes of profit acquisition. Moral and intellectual virtues, friendship, and political freedom remained important only to the extent that they furthered chrematistics and economic growth. The whole Greek world was turned upside down by the pervasive expansion of commodity exchange and market rational ity. Communal good and happiness were transformed into private utility, political freedom into economic liberty, human needs

into material wants, civic friendship into social contract, mutual sharing between friends and citizens into competition between strangers, and reciprocal justice into fair price and just distribution. In the end, the intellectual and moral virtues of Greek society--moderation, courage, honor, steadfastness, reason, and justice--were transformed into economic skills for acquiring and administering wealth. Marx sees a similar process occurring in modern capitalist society where the economic institutions make it impossible to realize the ethical and utopian values of liberalism. Marx's earliest writings on post-Aristotelian theories of physics contain a critique of positivism and natural science (Naturwissenschaft) which is later integrated into his overall view of science as an synthesis of British political economy, German Idealism, and Greek ethics and politics. In turn, his initial critique of mechanical determinism in his dissertation is also developed in his view of historical and dialectical science (Wissenschaft) found in Capital. Marx's critique of political economy rests on Aristotle's critique of economics and a market economy in Book 1 of the Politics and his theory of distributive, rectificatory or corrective, and reciprocal justice found in Book 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle attempted to portray the manner in which the negative and devastating effects of egoism, private property, exchange value, and the unnatural pursuit of wealth undermined the moral community, human solidarity, and political freedom of the Athenian polis. In the Politics, he outlined the basi c features of a democratic polity which Marx incorporates into his analysis of the democratic and participatory institutions of the Paris Commune of 1871. To transcend the limits of a market economy and political liberalism, Marx returns to Aristotle for the inspiration and imagination to look beyond the structures of modernity. GEORGE E. MCCARTHY is Professor of Sociology at Kenyon College. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston College and a Ph.D. in sociology from the Graduate Faculty, New School for Social Research. He has been a DAAD Research Fellow at the University of Frankfurt am Main and a Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at the University of Kassel, Germany. He has published a range of books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century German social thought, some of which are mentioned in his bibliographic essay included in this journal issue. (1.) Gould 77-79; Kain 74-158; Springborg 1984b; Bernstein 70; Rockmore 66-67; Brenkert 19; Arendt 1965 and 1974; Hook 1955 and 1975; Mewes 278; Meszaros 225; Rouse 437ff.; Depew 134; Gilbert 1981: 178 and 1984: 154ff.; McBride 135; Miller 326; Nussbaum in McCarthy 1992; Levine 24; de Ste. Croix 69ff.; Springborg 1984a: 408-09, 417; Seidel 668; Heller 1972 and 1976. McCarthy 1992 also includes essays by McCarthy, Mewes, Depew, Smith, DeGolyer, Baronovitchk, Kain, Booth, Miller, Gilbert, Margolis, and Rockniore. For readings in German literature, see Reding; Irmscher 209-15; Sannwald; Ranowitsch 25-34; Welskopf 1962: 278-317 and 1968: 231-39; Hillmann; Elileiter; Muller; Kondylis. (2.) For a more detailed analysis of the relationship between Marx and Aristotle, see McCarthy 1994: 3-127. (3.) Aristotle, Pol. 1257a5-58a14 (pp. 81-85 in the 1981 Penguin edition [trans. T. A. Sinclair, rev. T. Saunders]). WORKS CITED

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-----. 1994. "Household and Market: On the Origins of Moral Economic Philosophy." Review of Politics 56.2: 207-35. Castoriadis, Cornelius. 1984. "Value, Equality, Justice, Politics: From Marx to Aristotle and from Aristotle to Ourselves." In Cornelius Castoriadis, Crossroads in the Labyrinth. Trans. K. Soper and M. Ryle. Cambridge, MA. 260-339. Collier, Andrew. 1986. "Aristotelian Marx." Inquiry 29: 459-70. DeGolyer, Michael. 1985. "Science and Society, Justice and Equality: An Historical Approach to Marx." Ph.D. Diss., Claremont Graduate School. Katz, Claudio. 1994. "The Socialist Polis: Antiquity and Socialism in Marx's Thought." Review of Politics 56.2: 237-60. Krader, Laurence. 1974. The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx. Assen. Lekas, Padelis. 1988. Marx on Classical Antiquity: Problems of Historical Methodology. New York. McCarthy, George E. 1986. "German Social Ethics and the Return to Greek Philosophy: Marx and Aristotle." Studies in Soviet Thought 31: 1-24. -----. 1990. Marx and the Ancients: Classical Ethics, Social Justice, and Nineteenth-Century Political Economy. Savage, MD. Meikle, Scott. 1979. "Aristotle and the Political Economy of the Polis." JHS 99: 57-73. -----. 1995. Aristotle's Economic Thought. Oxford. Padgug, Robert. 1975. "Selected Bibliography on Marxism and the Study of Antiquity." Arethusa 8.1: 199-225. Schwartz, Nancy. 1979. "Distinction between Public and Private Life: Marx on the Zoon Politikon." Political Theory 7: 245-66. McCarthy, George E. Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition) McCarthy, George E. "Karl Marx and Classical Antiquity: A Bibliographic Introduction." Helios 26.2 (1999): 165+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 11 Sept. 2013. Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA80849875&v=2.1&u=leicester&it=r&p=EA IM&sw=w

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