Mihailo Markovic 1969

Economism or the Humanization of Economics.

Source: Praxis, International edition, 1969, no. 3-4, pp. 451-475.
Transcribed and proofed: Zdravko Saveski.

Our society is experiencing a serious conflict of opposing tendencies, of mutually discordant aims and of contrary scales of value. In its efforts to achieve economic progress as quickly as possible and to overcome the present backwardness and primitivism it has, over the past few years, increasingly been laying emphasis on market economy and the corresponding norms and motives of behaviour: efficiency, industriousness, skill, enterprise, ambition, and material interest.

At the same time, however our society cannot abandon its project of creating a new basis for human relations, new cultures and a new morality; a project whose basic values had already been widely accepted during the revolution. It involves such ideals as solidarity, care for the weak and the under-developed, the abolition of large social differences, the disappearance of all forms of exploitation, the right to work, the possibility for each individual to develop as a social and cultural being, the rational channeling of social processes, etc.

Experience has already shown the acuteness of the struggle: these various goals are not mutually concordant and the paths towards overcoming the contradictions have not yet been found.

Human fate is dramatically altered overnight. People who for decades have known who they are and what they want suddenly find themselves in different shoes. They discover that they are profoundly confused, divided at the bottom of their souls, torn, incapable of somehow putting the pieces of their being back together, of reuniting thoughts and attitudes. Some who were in the front-line of the revolution have fallen behind in the reform, while others who watched the revolution from the side-lines hastily grab first place in the columns of reform. Ex-partizan commissars become businessmen, representatives of capitalist firms. Ex-businessmen begin to interpret for other the true meaning of socialism.

However, even those people who have not undergone such an unexpected transformation, who do not have the feeling that they are swimming in a river without any visible banks and without a firm bed, who are convinced that they understand the true nature of the conflicting situations in which they find themselves, in various and differing ways experience that situation, – some as the victory of political realism over utopianism, other as the degradation and down fall of the only possible ideals of socialism; some as the triumph of liberalism over conservative forces, others as the massive reproduction of petty-bourgeois way of life and the bringing into question of the fundamental aims of the revolution; some as only the latest in a series of inevitable ebbs and flows in history, others as a great failure in the selection and realization of the possibilities which history offers. This disparity of attitudes, this certain incapacity to create a new whole, to unite conflicting aims, to overcome the gap between theory and practice, favours the many one-sided conceptions whose truth is at best partial and whose morals are usually ambiguous.

Amidst these one-sided attitudes and conceptions particular attention is drawn to the one which is at the moment very influential, which attempts to be more “Party-like” than the Party Programme, more Marxist than Marxism itself, and which derives its strength from the simple fact that it is fundamentally nothing else but a rationalization for blind economic forces. Of course, blind economic forces are of decisive importance when they are not opposed by conscious mass action. It is characteristic for this view, which way [may] be called economism, that man is essentially an economic being (homo oeconomicus), and a consumer (homo consumens), that the essential motive of production in socialist society the attempt to maximize income and that, therefore, the most important thing for socialism at this moments is complete liberation of economic laws and the undisturbed development of commodity – money relations.

A critical analysis of economism assumes consideration of the entire situational and theoretical context in which the problem of the development of commodity production in socialism is posed. Therefore, one must investigate a) its genesis and its meaning in the modern international socialist movement, and b) Marx's attitude towards commodity production and human relations in a society which is based on that production.

Economism and the classical European concept of socialism.

The classical European concept of socialism, which during the first decades of this century was the theoretical foundation of the workers' movement throughout the world, which was the official doctrine of the Third Communist International, and which directed the moves of not only the Russian October Revolution but of our own as well all the way up to about 1950, finds itself confronted with serious crisis. Typical of this concept was the conviction:

1) that capitalist social relations were too narrow a frame-work for the development of productive forces, considering the enormous possibilities offered by modern science and technology;

2) that economic exploitation, political oppression and other forms of human degradation which are characteristic of the modern world, are chiefly a result of the institution of private property on the means of production;

3) that the socialist state is by definition the representative of the interests of the working class and of the widest strata of working people, and that it is therefore natural for it to dispose of the entire objectified labour;

4) that the maximum of economic and social rationality can be achieved by state planning;

5) that the direct concern of the state for science, education and culture assures their maximum rapid and fruitful growth;

6) that social development will gradually but constantly and increasingly, without introducing large economic and social differences, lead to the satisfaction individual human needs.

Almost all of these assumptions have gradually more or less come into question. Historical experience has largely confirmed the theory of private property as a restrictive factor in modem society. It is true, it turned out that societies founded on private property can still develop, can even secure a relatively long, lasting period of prosperity,[1] and can, in individual cases (e. g. Japan) achieve exceptionally rapid progress. However, after five decades of the practical existence of socialism it must be accepted as a historical fact that, on the average, social property on the means of production assured a significantly higher degree of growth. Nevertheless, the example of Japan demonstrates that social phenomena can never be explained by only one cause. Property relations most certainly exert an influence on the formation of a particular social climate where an accelerated progress is possible. Yet, that certain climate of increased social elan, of integrity, order and above-average individual commitment can also be the result of other factors.

History has particularly contested the uncritical earlier belief in the possibilities and advantages of the state in a socialist society. The oversized sphere of functions and rights adopted by the state has unavoidably made out of it a modern leviathan, an alienated power, basically independent of the people in whose name it acts, which has immediately begun to develop according to its own logic and to reproduce much of the irrationality and inhumanity characteristic of the old society. Capitalist profit as the form of appropriating surplus labour has been abolished, but bureaucratic privileges has taken its place. Decision-making has ceased to be haphasard, but has instead become abstract and voluntaristic. State concern for science and culture has permitted the large concentrated investment in material equipment and in the creation of cadres, it has ensured the accelerated development of the natural sciences and of technology, as well as of ideologically neutral art (particularly music), and it has allowed the fascinating advance in the field of elementary mass culture. However, that concern, which all too often was transformed into censorship, created a “dead sea” in all those cultural fields whose existence depends on creative freedom: in the social sciences, humanistic disciplines, literature and art. Since the individual was in every sense dependent on the state, the fulfilment of individual needs was low down on the daily list. Socialism increasingly resembled a rich society of poor individuals. Bureaucracy took care that economic and social differences did not become too great, but it significantly stood back from the entire rest of society.

Today, this classical concept of socialism is in the process of re-evaluation and partial modification throughout Europe, particularly with regard to the economic functions of the state. However, in some of its essential elements it has experienced radical criticism from two opposing sides, in China and Yugoslavia.

China needed, with regard to her enormous economic backwardness and utmost overstrained programme of industrialization, a more rigid model of socialism than the classical one, which had originated under European conditions and counted on the niveau of at least semi-industrialized countries. Hence, the authority of the central government had to become even greater than that in the Soviet Union during the twenties and thirties. As in every primitive society it had to be personalized into one leader of super-natural qualities. Maximal efficiency of action, in the absence of technological development, had to be ensured by organization, order, discipline and unity of thought, – in fact, by the complete “ideologization” of the entire culture. Chinese society with its present low productivity of labour could not ensure both rapid industrialization and constantly increasing satisfaction of individual needs. She found herself at the cross-roads of a dilemma: either enable the present generation to experience not only the collective exaltation of creating a new society and a new revolutionary ethos but also a significantly higher degree of satisfaction of individual material needs along with a certain slack in the tempo of material development, or seek to conquer the heights of technology with maximal individual deprivation. There is no cause for surprise that the more extreme of the two courses won out. Any slackening of industrialization in a predominantly rural country such as is still China would reproduce a strong petty bourgeoisie social stratum and would make the future uncertain. The centuries-long influence of Confucianism and of Taoism had already prepared people for personal sacrifice and any form of deprivation. The new ideology of dignity in poverty and the subordination of individual to community requests was already there, it only needed to clear the field of all other alternative ideologies (whether by origin traditional or foreign), to give an all the more forceful impulse for its massive appropriation. In fact, this is the meaning behind the so-called cultural revolution.

Of course, the conditions in China are so specific that her ways and experience is not more relevant to the development of European countries than the experience of these is obligatory for China. Present-day enthusiasm among certain leftists for China and for the Chinese cultural revolution is of a completely romantic nature. It is more an expression of revolt against the situation in the European and American labour movement than an expression of a serious considered belief that the world labour movement should follow China's course of development.

The Yugoslav negation of the classical model of socialism with its critique of the myth surrounding the socialist state with its effective, practical building up completely new, alternative political and economic – those structures of self-management of incomparably greater importance for developed countries.

That which allows for a certain continuity to remain between the classical and the Yugoslav models, which enables then both to be called “socialist” is the resolute denial of the institution of private property on the means of production. The other basic point of resemblance is that both models apply to a reality which has not yet reached the level where the question of abolishing all commodity production could be posed. What is more, both models are confronted with a paradoxical situation of having at the same time both to find the path towards abolishing market economy (demanded by any society which tends to create communism), as well as the path towards the further development of market economy, (demanded by any society which has not yet become sufficiently industrialized and urbanized).

The main thrust of Yugoslav criticism of the classical model of socialism is its contestation of statism, i. e. the viewpoints:

- that the so-called socialist state is the unconditional representative of the working class and of all working peoples and that, consequently, it has the right to dispose of the lion's share of the objectified work;

- that instead of the producers and their true, democratically elected representatives the state can rationally manage the entire economy of the country;

- that the state must keep control over all scientific and cultural activities;

- that only the state can ensure the application of the principle of reward according to work and overcome the forms of exploitation and alienation characteristic of the old society.

In our country today, only the most conservative bureaucrats still accept statism as a lasting and satisfactory model for socialist society. However, there are efforts to rehabilitate statism (particularly republican) as a temporary solution, based on the theory that the state is here to stay for a while, and that our bureaucracy is not alien to the working class but rather that it governs with its consent and support. It is not exactly clear how it is possible to claim that, on the one hand, we already have a self-managing society, that there are already self-managing relations in our economy, and at the same time, on the other hand, to justify the more durable existence of the state and of bureaucracy. Of course, it can also be the expression of a certain realism and tacit acknowledgement that the realization of self-management has not progressed very far and that a large gulf exists between theory and practice, between propaganda and reality.

If, for a moment, we concern ourselves with the theoretical aspect of the question we will quickly see that there are several alternatives to statism and that, as a matter of fact, very different things are grouped under the title of “self-management.”

If we ask ourselves: who, in place of the state, should make the decisions, plan production and distribute the surplus objectified labour, at least three answers are possible (if we abstract their combinations and their varying sub-classes):

a) the immediate producer (in a maximally decentralized system),

b) the immediate producer and the organs of the state in the municipalities, republics and federations,

c) the producer and the organs of self-management in municipalities, republics and federations.

These three answers imply in fact, three different theoretical models, all of which can be called models of self-management because in principle they recognize the right of the immediate producers to participate in deciding on the production and distribution of surplus labour. Naturally, the place and true share of immediate producers can significantly vary with each of these models. In addition, a model is not the same thing as reality, proclaimed but illusory freedom is not the same as actual freedom, which can be utterly limited by the laws of the market and by varied administrative interventions. In practice, immediate producers rarely enjoy the rights forseen for them in the system, because, among other reasons, they are unorganized and confronted with compact oligarchic groups and apparata of enormous power. If we abstract all of this for a moment, we could call model (a) a system of decentralized self-management, model (b) a combined system of self-management and statism, and model (c) a system of integrated self-management.

What we have at the moment in Yugoslavia is model (b) (Certain functionaries and intellectuals would like to see a modification of that model by strengthening republican at the expense of federal statism).

The further development of self-management, the de-bureaucratization and de-professionalization of politics under the conditions of modern technology, which ensures the rationality of only the “big” integrated systems, would be achieved for us under model (c).

It is typical of what we can characterize as “economism” that it attempts to achieve economic and social rationality exclusively through the mechanism of commodity money relations, totally eliminating and influence and intervention by political institutions of global society. As a result, economism identifies self-management with decentralization (model a), strives towards greater disintegration and atomisation of social processes, opposes any planning and direction on principle, and not because it might re-enforce bureaucracy (to which even some adherents of economism undoubtedly belong). Economism views the remuneration according of to work exclusively as remuneration according to the success on the market. The increase in social differences, the appearance of new socialist bosses and new socialist proleterians, and even the phenomenon of massive unemployment are all seen as normal occurrences within the system. It is natural, according to its postulates, that the skilled and the shrewd should prosper while the weak are ruined, – anything is moral as long as it is not explicitly forbidden by the law. Culture is worth only as much as it brings on the market, science is worth only as much as it can be directly applied to industry.

If we abstract the by-products of economism – its cynicism and its total spiritual void – if we concentrate on its theoretical base (which is the liberalism of the nineteenth century under the conditions of social property on the means of production), three preliminary constatations are possible.

First of all, economism is unreal and naive. A society built upon its principles would be doomed. A disintegrated industry would be incapable of applying modern technology, which is incompatible with yesterday's limits and barriers, which demands increasingly large investments, a growing degree of communication and cooperation, and an increasingly wider field of operations. The atomized society under modern conditions is no longer capable of solving any of the larger problems such as hunger, shelter, unemployment, efficient medical aid, the modernization of industry, automation, the application of cybernetics, juvenile delinquency, prostitution, illiteracy, universal education, mass culture, the development of the modern sciences, and particularly the mobilization of citizens to carry out great social goals. While the process of integration is increasingly progressing in the West, at a time when supra-nationalist communities are already in operation, we were recommended, until recently, to disintegrate the already established larger enterprises and communities.

Secondly, economism would like to represent itself as the official doctrine of Yugoslav society which, among other things, strems from the Programme of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia. That is, in fact, a position rather different from the existing system. Under the present system, the state determines the frame-work of all of economic politics. By passing laws, numerous instruments and decrees, it, as a matter of fact regulates and, to a certain degree, directs economic processes. According to needs it even freezes prices and personal incomes, invests in building up large objects, exerts an influence on bank business the credit system, determines the currency rate, and confirms the form of exchange with other countries. All of this is irreconcilable with economism. Therefore, leaving aside the questions whether or not the state is doing well what it is doing and whether or not economism is a progressive or regressive negation of such methods, one must establish that the doctrine is in practical opposition both to the political principles proclaimed in the Programme of the Yugoslav League of Communists, but also to those politics which have been so far really carried out in our country.

Thirdly, economism resembles statism in that both attempt to save and to durably retain in socialism some of the essential structures of class society. Statism has been working to this end on the political level conserving, strengthening, justifying and glorifying the state. Economism tries to achieve the same ends on the economic level retaining and glorifying the market. The one created the myth of the “socialist state” and the other of “socialist commodity production.”

Of course, socialism will need the state for yet a long time to come. Similarly, commodity production and market relations will exist for a while yet.

Undoubtedly, the state under socialism is not the same as the state under any known previous forms of class society. Commodity money relations under social property on the means of production and the first forms of self-management are not the same as commodity money relations under capitalism.

Nevertheless, the state is an institution of the old, class society; it is essentially an apparatus of coercion which makes sense only as long as (sharp) class differentiation exists and as long as reason remains inferior to power. Is it any different with commodity production? Did not Marx in every commodity production, not only that under capitalism discover the presence of the alienation of labour and the fetishism of commodity? Was not the transition from capitalism towards communism for him a process of transcending the institutions of commodity, money and reified market relations?

If this is not so, then economism can pretend to mean something new for socialist theory and practice. If it is so, then economism is reactionary and cannot be evaluated as anything other than as a not too ingenious attempt to restore the long ago by-passed bourgeois liberalism of the nineteenth century.

Marx's critique of alienated labour.

One needs to get behind the ephemeral individual facts of Marx's “Das Kapital” and the theoretical considerations which more or less relate to the particular forms of capitalist society during his time, to be able to penetrate the furthest depths of this work in order to understand its full meaning. Only then do we see that Marx was far more than an analyst or a critic of a concrete, and today greatly surpassed, historical reality, that he was, in fact, a theoretician of our society and times as well, and that he expressed more profound truths about it than many of our superficial contemporaries and many of his disciples who, full of self-satisfaction, live under the dangerous illusions that, at least in some parts of the world, the questions which Marx posed have already been resolved.

In fact, the problem which represents the basis and the starting point of Marx's entire critique of political economics continues to be the central problem of the present moment and of the entire historical epoch in which we live. Marx condensed this problem into the concept of “alienated labour.” The term alone was the cause of many mis-understandings and pseudoconflicts. It in itself is not important. What is essential is the structure to which it refers. The question is what happens under determined historical conditions to man in the process of his work.

Work is objectification of human powers: shaping the confined object man projects onto it his own consciousness, thought, desires, needs, imagination, and through it realizes the potential qualities of his being. At the same time, production enables satisfaction of life's needs, his own and those of the other man. Work, therefore, could be an activity through which the individual expresses all of the fundamental characteristics of his human nature, and through which he produces and confirms himself as a man. Man precisely distinguishes himself from other animals:

in that he consciously and purposefully changes the prescribed object;

in that he rebels against any form of limitation, be it from the outer world or from within himself, from which it follows that he aspires to over-come every such restriction, and to perfect and further develop his own self through his creativity;

in that the motive for work is not only the creation of the useful traits of the object which satisfy some direct organic need or increase man's might, but also the creation of those traits which are a goal in itself, which make the object beautiful;

finally, in that the product of labour mediates between one individual and the other and this establishes a social relation between them; the product will satisfy a need of the other man, add to his being in a certain way and at the same time project and confirm through it the being of its producer.

Work, by its own nature, could be all of this. However, in modern history these structural characteristics of work have been only fragmentarily manifested and only in the productivity of individual creators. The production of humanity as a whole, owing to a series of historical conditions, still has not got a human character.

In a society in which the scarcity of material objects indispensable to essential human needs still rules, in which, therefore, abstract need possession as such emerges as a super-structure of immediate concrete needs;

in a situation when the necessity for an increase in the productivity of labour results in the division of labour, in the partition of society into professional groups, in the polarization of physical and intellectual workers, of managers and employees, in the crumbling and atomizing of the entire working process into individual phases and finally in operations around which the whole life of individual or groups of workers may sometimes be fixed;

under conditions when there is not yet enough objectified work in order to satisfy the needs of everyone, but there is already enough of it to secure a monopoly of economic and social power for a certain elite stratum of society;

under such conditions the entire structure of human work disintegrates, and an acute gap between its constituent elements appears: the product no longer has its determined producer and the producer loses all connection with the object in whose production he took part.

This is a two-sided externalisation (Entäußerung) for the product not only escapes from the control of its creator, but also begins to act like an independent power[2] which treats its author like an object, like a thing for being used. This phenomenon is possible because behind the object there is another man who uses it to transform the producer into a thing, where any human characteristics are completely irrelevant except for one: a special kind of commodity which can produce other commodities and needs for its up-keep and reproduction a smaller amount of objectified work than the amount of objectified work which it creates. This two-sided externalisation which in essence is not a relation of a man to the natural object but rather a specific relationship of a man toward other man, is alienation.[3]

Marx did not discover the idea itself of alienated labour, it can already be found in Hegel's early works. However, Marx re-opened a problem which Hegel had fictively solved and closed. He gave it a real historical perspective within the frame-work of a general humanistic philosophical vision. While working on “Grundrissen der Kritik der politischen Oekonomie” and in his first draft of “Kapital” , Marx hardly used the term “alienation” itself, but the conceptual structure expressed therein was the basis for Marx's entire critique of political economy. Lastly, the experience of the Paris Commune contributed to Marx's definite formulation of his belief that a free community of direct producers, that is, the realization of self-management, is the concrete historical path towards transcending alienated labour.


Already in his work “A System of Morals” (System der Sittlichkeit), written between 1800 and 1802, Hegel introduced the concept of “general” , abstract and quantitative labour which produces goods for the market, in difference from that special concrete work through which the individual attempts to fulfil his own needs. Abstract labour leads to social inequality, to the increase in degrees of wealth and to ever-greater antagonisms. A state ruled by anarchy is not in any condition to over-come these antagonisms. . . Powers alien to the individual, in relation to which he remains impotent, determine whether or not his needs will be satisfied. The so-called state of justice attempts through proper legal channels to introduce a certain balance, but even this cannot completely come out at the end with special interests. According to Hegel, the only possibility for creating a unity of general and individual interests is to transcend the individualistic society, and pass into the authority of the state, in which discipline and preparation for war governs.

We can find a similar analysis of labour in “Philosophie des Geistes.” Abstract labour cannot develop the true capacities of the individual. Mechanization instead of liberation only enslaves man: increase in mechanization means a decrease in the value of labour and a further restriction on the worker's capacities. Instead of being the means for the self-realization of the individual, work becomes the means for his degradation and self-negation. The relation between need and labour becomes blind, unestimable interdependence. For a society like this to be able to survive, it is essential, according to Hegel, to have a strong state which will constantly control the wild animal and hold it on a leash.

Hegel continues this discussion of the problem of labour and the relation individual – society in his “Die Phenomenologie des Geistes.” His analysis of the reified world in which objects are the incarnation of the subject who created them and in which, behind the relations among the objects, are hidden human inter-relations, is of capital importance to Marx's philosophy. Marx adopted from Hegel the idea that man is “the result of his work” and that the “self-creation of man is the process of reification and of its negation.” [4] Hegel's analysis of master and servant directly prepared the way for Marx's analysis of the relationship between capital and labour. The world is polarized on the field in which man's entire being is regulated by work, and on the field in which man appropriates the work of another man. Such a relationship did not sprout as a result of natural differences between them; it is mediated by the objects which the one produces and the other possesses and disposes of. Hegel indicated the solution to this conflict, but in an abstract, conceptual form: the man whose self-consciousness is awoken, who has felt that behind the appearance of things lies his own self-consciousness, is hungry for things, he appropriates and uses them. Yet, at the end of that process he comes to the knowledge that the true object of his desires (Begierde) are not things but rather contact with other individuals. Or as Hegel puts it: “Self-consciousness achieves its satisfaction in another self-consciousness.”

These ideas have their deeper meaning in the modern consumer civilization which reproduces on a mass scale a type of man which can be characterised as a being-for-things and not Hegel's being-for-the-other-man.

Marx emphasized the enormous significance of Hegel's “Phenomenology of Mind” , but at the same time he pointed out at the fatal loop-whole in this brilliant analysis: all the contradictions of bourgeois society which Hegel so genially perceived and expressed in a philosophical language are dissolved within the framework of pure thought, within the framework of the sphere of speculative, abstract philosophy which in itself is one of the spheres of alienation. This amounts to “over-coming” alienation in an alienated way. Furthermore, Hegel's entire system remains historically closed and tied to the existing social framework. The monarchist state solves all antagonisms, reality, in this way, reaches the level of theory, social institutions become rational (vernunftig).


Many Marxists to whom Hegel's works were unknown have been contributing to Marx thoughts which he had simply taken over from Hegel.

Other immediately noticed that unbridgeable differences exist between Marx's ideas in “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” and their own philosophical convictions. The best thing to do was to declare his early works as Hegelian.

The ignorance of the first was nowhere near so damaging as the superficial arrogance of the second. Without the Hegelian analysis of labour and the reified world not only would there not be the philosophy of the young Marx but there would not be “Das Kapital” either. When Hegel's conservative and apologetic conclusions are discarded and his abstract and mystified form of presentation is left aside, certain profound analyses of real human inter-relationships remain. These analyses entered the roots of Marx's thought and reveal their full meaning in contemporary society.

Without this prehistory to “Kapital” it is impossible to understand that work, as even Lenin once noted,[5] after having read only Hegel's “Logic” and not even considering “Phenomenology of Mind.” What follows is that over the past hundred years there have been few Marxists who have understood how Marx really conceived the transcendence of capitalism.

Contrary to the widespread misbelief that the theme of alienation can only be found in Marx's earlier works under the influence of Hegel, and that the [he] completely discarded this “abstract philosophical phase” in his later, more mature scientific period, it can be irrefutably shown that the basis of Marx's critique of political economy is in his critique of alienated labour, and that, in that respect, there is complete continuity from the “Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts” , written in 1844, “Grundrissen der Kritik der politischen Oekonomie” written in 1857-58 to “Kapital.”

Marx's critical position in “Kapital” can only be understood in the light of his hypothesis of true human community and true production where each man both “affirms himself and the other man” :

1) by objectifying his individuality and experiencing his personality as an objective, sensuous, unquestionable power;

2) by the immediate awareness that his work and the use of his product will satisfy the needs of another human being;

3) by the mediation between another man and the human generic being, by the knowledge that this labour contributed to supplementing another being, that it became a part of him;

4) by his life expression the life expression of another man was created; this is, then, the immediate confirmation and realisation of his true being, his generic being.[6]

The analysis of labour in “Kapital” is the starting point for the explanation and criticism of capitalist society, and for any other society which is based on commodity production. The character of labour is contradictory. What Marx in his earlier works called “alienated labour” is now placed under the term “abstract labour.” Only abstract labour creates exchange value and only it has a socially acknowledged importance. However, man's labour is here totally crippled, deprived of everything personal, free, creative, spontaneous, human, and reduced to being a simple supplement to the machines. The only socially acknowledged characteristic of that labour will be its quantity which will be judged on the market and will receive its abstract objective form: money. The fetishism of commodities, the mysticism of the merchandize world are now the concepts by which, within the sphere of economics, Marx expresses the same structure of productive relations which he termed in his earlier works as “alienated labour.” Again, the point is, as Marx says in “Kapital” , that “their (commodity producer's) own historical movement takes the form of the movement of things under whose control they happen to be placed, instead of having control over them.” [7] The conclusion which Marx draws from his analyses of the production of relative surplus value reproduces in condensed form all of the elements of his criticism of alienated labour in early writings:

“Within the capitalist system all methods for increasing social productive forces are carried out on the bill of the individual worker, all means for developing production degenerate into means for the exploitation of and rule over the producer; they make a cripple out of the worker, a semi-man, they reduce him to the common equipment of a machine, destroy the last remains of appeal in his work transforming it into a real torture; they alienate from the worker the intellectual possibilities of the process of labour to the degree in which science is included as an independent force; they deform the conditions under which he works, subject him in the process of labour to a disgusting and pedantic despotism, transform his entire life into working hours and throw his wife and his child under Juggernaut's wheel of capital.” [8]

In “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” Marx differentiated four types of alienation of the worker:

1) alienation from the product of labour, which becomes an independent blind power;

2) alienation from the production itself, which becomes compulsive, routine and loses any traits of creativity (which, among other things implies production according to the laws of beauty);

3) alienation from the human generic being, for whom conscious, free and productive labour is characteristic;

4) alienation from the other man, because satisfaction of another's needs, supplementing another's being, cease to be the prime motive of production.

All of these aspects of alienation can be found in “Kapital.”

The fetish character of commodity lies precisely in the fact that “the social characteristics of their own work seem to people be characteristics which objectively belong to the products of labour themselves, to be properties which those things have by nature.” Hence, “the determined social relationship among people assumes for them a fantasmagorical form of the relationship among things.”

This reification of human relations springs from determined characteristics of labour, when that labour produces commodities. The labour can take on the character of a commodity only, “when various specific cases of work are reduced to a common character which they all have as the expenditure of working capacity, as human labour in the abstract.” This abstract labour ceases to be a need and fulfilment of the human being and becomes the mere necessary means of its subsistence. “The accumulation of wealth at one end is at the same time the accumulation of poverty, hard labour, slavery, ignorance, growing bestiality and moral decline at the other, i. e. on the part of the class which brings forth its own product in the shape of capital.[9] The alienation of the producer from the other man stems from the simple fact that the purpose of the work is no longer the satisfaction of another's needs, but rather the possibility to transform labour into money – the general and impersonal form of objectified labour. The drastic forms of alienation among people arise as a consequence of the competition, exploitation and despotism to which the worker is submitted. In order at to the same time increase production and to prevent a decline in the profit rate it becomes necessary to squeeze out from the worker a growingly large amount of unpaid-for work.[10] Hence, the necessity for the most efficient manipulation of workers possible and the need for increase in the degree of exploitation of labour.

Criticism of alienated labour, therefore is present in both “Kapital” and in all earlier works. He who loses sight of this criticism also loses the possibility for understanding the deepest meaning of Marx's message, and opens himself up to the dangerous illusion that many historical problems have been already resolved when all that has been realized are some-preconditions and all that has been achieved are some first steps towards their resolution.


A good example of misunderstanding the essentials of Marx's critiques of capitalist society is the discussions on the disappearance of exploitation in the modem developed industrial society of the West and in socialist countries.

One of the frequent arguments used in the West to refute Marx's teachings is to point out the fact that, contrary to his predictions, the process of progressive pauperization of the working class did not take place. In fact, its living standard over the last few decades has grown to such an extent that it has lost all of its one-time revolutionary character. This seems to imply that under these conditions exploitation tends to disappear.

However, the quintessence of exploitation is not that the worker is condemned to live in misery because he does not receive equal value for his labour. First of all, Marx assumed that wages in capitalism are more or less equal to the value of labour. Secondly, under the conditions of rapid technical progress and the increase in labour productivity the degree of exploitation can grow regardless of the fact that wages can also rise.

“The surplus value rate is the exact expression for the degree of exploitation of labour by capital.” However, the surplus value rate is determined by the ratio of surplus value to variable capital. Therefore, the moment that labour productivity or the total value of produced commodities more rapidly increases than the total sum issued to buy the labour force, the degree of exploitation increases.

On the other hand, contrary to those Marxists who link the phenomenon of exploitation strictly to capitalism, one can say that the more [mere] abolishment of private property as a means of production does not abolish every possibility for exploitation.

Marx carefully explained in his earlier writings that private property is not the cause but the consequence of alienated labour, just as gods are originally the consequence not the cause of religious alienation. Only later does conditioning become reciprocal. In the society which Marx calls “primitive” , “non-reflective” communism, “man's personality is negated in every sphere” , all-around envy and levelling-down appear, “the entire world of culture and civilization is negated and regresses towards the unnatural simplicity of the individual poor and wantless who has not only not surpassed private property but has not yet even attained to it.” [11] In this kind of society, Marx says, “the community is only a community of work and of equality of wages paid out by the communal capital by the community as universal capitalist.” [12]

That is why Marx felt that the basic question was that of the nature of labour rather than the question of private property.

“In speaking of private property, one believes oneself to be dealing with something external to mankind. But in speaking of labour one deals directly with mankind itself. This new formulation of the problem already contains its solution.” [13]

The solution, therefore, is to abolish those relations in to which the worker comes during the process of his labour, to abolish the situation in which he becomes only one of the commodities in the reified world of commodities.

The essence of exploitation lies in the fact that accumulated, objectified labour, i. e. capital, rules over live work and appropriates the value which it creates, and which is greater than the value of the labour force itself. Marx expressed this major thesis of his in “Kapital” , in the following lapidary manner: “The rule of capital over the worker is merely the rule of things over man, of dead over live labour.” [14]

The specific historical form which enabled the appropriation of objectified labour in Marx's time was the disposal of capital on the basis of private property on the means of production. This specific feature clouded over the generality of its content and it is no wonder that to many Marxists it seemed and still seems that the possibility for exploitation existing in a society in which private property on the means of production has been abolished is contradictio in adjecto. Nevertheless, it is obvious that private property on the means of production is not the only social institution which allows for the disposal of objectified labour. First, in a market economy during the transitional period this institution can be the monopolistic position of individual collectives which enables them to sell their commodities above their value. Such collectives, in fact, appear on the market as collective capitalists and collective exploiters. (Needless to say, within the process of internal distribution this appropriated surplus of value will be assured of never reaching the pockets of the producers themselves, but will rather find its way into the bureaucratic and technocratic elements of the enterprise). Secondly, it can be a monopoly over the decision-making in a statist system. To the degree in which a bureaucracy exists and takes over the disposal of the objectified labour in to its own hands, rewarding itself with various privileges there is no doubt that this is only another form of appropriating the surplus value created by the working class.

The only way to definitely abolish exploitation is to create the conditions which will prevent objectified labour to rule over live labour, in which, above all, the right to dispose of objectified labour will be given to the producers themselves.


Alienation in the field of material production entails a corresponding form of alienation in the field of public social life, the state and politics: politics are separated from economics, and society is divided into two opposite spheres. One is civil society with all the egoism of the concrete owner of commodities, with all its envy, greed for private possession and indifference towards the true needs of the other man. The other sphere is that of the political society of the abstract citizen which in an illusory way personifies within itself the general interest of the community.

Kant and Hegel outlined two basic but contrary concepts of the state and law. Kant's liberal concept starts from the real empirically given society characterised by the market and the mutual competition among egotistic individuals, and attempts to reconcile the general interest and freedom of the individual in a negative manner, by demanding restriction on the self-initiative and arbitrariness of the individual. Hegel correctly perceived that simple common co-existence and mutual restriction of selfish individuals does not constitute a real general interest and a true human community. Hegel, therefore, tried to transcend this negative relationship of one individual with the next, seen as his limit, by the assumption of a rational citizen and a rational community in which the individual relates positively to the social whole, and through it to the other individual. However, Hegel himself remained within the frame-work of the limited horizon of bourgeois society, conceiving rationality as an abstract “identification of the subjective spirit of the individual with the objective spirit of the state.” The state as the personification of ideal human community is a pure abstraction which fictively transcends the existing empirical reality of bourgeois society.

In his criticism of Hegel's philosophy of law Marx properly observed that (1) such a reduction of a concrete possible human community to an abstraction of the state, (the moment of the objective spirit), along with reducing a concrete, historically-given individual to an abstraction of the citizen, takes the form of alienation, and that (2) this alienation in thought is the result of alienation in the reality itself: “The picture of the modern state imagined by the Germans, which abstracts itself from natural people, was only possible because and in as much as the very state abstracts itself from true people or fulfils the total man in only an imaginary way.” [16]

Contrary to “civil society” , in which there is bellum omnium contra omnes and in which only intersecting and mutually contradictory separate interests come to expression, in the political state the state-in-general appears as a necessary supplement, and in Hegel's concept it “exists an sich and für sich.” The state, then, is an alienated universal and necessarily entails the formalism of the state: bureaucracy. Bureaucracy attempts to affirm general interest as something special, beside and above all other private and special interests.[17] In that way it presents itself as an alienated social power which “treats the world as a mere object of its activity.” [18] On the other hand, the state and bureaucracy are necessary supplements to the crumbling world of the owners of commodities who all follow only their special and private goals: the state also supports a special interest but and creates the seemingness of its generality. “General interest” can be maintained in face of special interest only as something “particular” in as much as the particular in face of the general is maintained as something “general.” [19]

Needless to say, this dualism between bureaucratized state and special private interests was impossible to resolve by identifying these contradictions in an imaginary way, within the framework of abstract thought.

“The abolition of bureaucracy” , says Marx, “is possible only when general interest becomes reality” and when “special interest really becomes general interest.” [20] And that is only possible when the individual man begins to live, work and relate to his fellow man in a human way “only then when man ceases to separate his forces propres as a social power from himself in the form of political power.” “Only then human emancipation will be achieved.” [21]

Marx explained this conception more clearly in “Grundrisse.” Here he compares political with religious alienation; both in cases man projects his general human generic characteristics and needs either into an out-of-this-world being, or into the state. Both are a necessary supplement to the incomplete social reality and can wither away only when man liberates himself from the idiocy of tying his entire life to one calling and to wage labour.

Marx shows in “Das Kapital” that all the basic rights guaranteed by the state to its citizens have a formal and alienated character. Freedom is merely the citizen's right to dispose of his commodity. Equality is in reality merely the application of the principle of equality to the exchange of commodity.[22] Everyone looks out for himself and not for the other. General good can only be realized “behind the back of the individual” by the “invisible hand” as Adam Smith says. However, it is a question of striving for the general goals of the community consciously and freely, in the most rational and most human way possible. For that, the state is no longer necessary. “Freedom consists in transforming the state from an organ which dominates society into an organ which is completely subordinate to it, and even at the present, the forms of the state are more or less free to the degree that they limit the freedom of the state.” [23]

Very early, already in his “The Poverty of Philosophy” , Marx offered the theory that “in the process of its development the working class will replace the old bourgeois society with an association which excludes classes and their contradictions.” Then, there will no longer be political rule in the traditional sense, because political rule is precisely the official expression for the class contradictions of “bourgeois society.” [24] In the “Communist Manifesto” Marx says that achieving democracy is the first step in the workers' revolution. The state is nothing more than “the proletariat organized as the ruling class.” [25] Marx's concept of the fate of the state during the revolution is particularly clear in his analysis of the experiences of the Paris Commune. He talks throughout of “destroying state rule” , of “smashing” it, of its “superfluousness.” With great approval he accepts two, as Engels calls them “infallible means” for preventing bureaucratism. First, “the Commune appointed for its official persons elected by the general vote, persons who are directly responsible and at any time replaceable by their electors.” Second, “public office, whether it concerns high or low positions had to be performed for worker's wages.” [26]

For the first time in history, if only for a short period, the state was replaced by self-management.


Self-management is really the abolition of every social power alien to the producers, which would monopolise the power of decision-making over the objectified work. When the associated immediate producers themselves take over the disposal of the objectified work and the regulation of production, any necessity for state and professional politics disappears. For the first time in history, determining factors are created for the complete emancipation of the producers from all forms of alienation, for the development of solidarity and all forms of creativity.

In his “Paris Manuscripts” of 1844, the road was not yet clear to Marx as to how to overcome alienated labour. He only makes a rough draft here of the general vision of a society in which all individuals develop freely and realize themselves as complete personalities. Social relationships are no longer those of envy competition, abuse or mutual indifference, but rather relations in which the individual while fulfilling the needs of the next man, while fulfilling and enriching his being, directly experiences his own affirmation and self-realization as a man.

Marx gives a concrete historical dimension to this general vision of transcending alienated labour in his “Grundrisse.” He discards romantic lamentations over the inhumanity of the new capitalist relations while idealizing undeveloped social relations which historically preceded. It was entirely clear to Marx that new, more humane relations of production will occur only in an advanced society, in the production relations which, thanks to the scientific and technological progress, have already become universal, no matter how reified. Only when man is no longer directly governed by people but by abstract forces, by reified social laws will the possibility be created to bring these reified conditions of existence under communal social control.

In “Das Kapital” , Marx's solution for the problem of alienation of labour is quite clearly outlined, for example, in the discussion on the fetishism of commodities. “The form of the process of social life, i. e. of the process of material production will cast off from itself the mystical loggy veil only then when the product of freely associated people is under their conscious, planned control. But this requires such a material basis and such a set of material conditions which in themselves are the wild product of a long and painful history of development.” [27] One should particularly mark out that famous passage in “Kapital” the third volume of where Marx says:

“Freedom in the field of material production cannot consist of anything else but of the fact that socialized man, associated producers, regulate their interchange with nature rationally, bring it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by some blind power; that they accomplish their task with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most adequate to their human nature and most worthy of it.” [28]

The idea of self-management is enriched and made concrete through Marx's analyses of the experiences of Paris Commune. All the elements of self-management are already given here, namely:

1. The regulation of the process of labour should be left in the hands of the workers themselves, it cannot remain the monopoly of any special profession of managers who concern themselves with that only, and who, as the only historical subjects, will manipulate all other people like objects.

2. Producers must be associated, and that freely. Self-management is not, therefore a synonym for the atomization and disintegration of society, as some of its opponents like to represent it and as it may appear in practice when mistakenly understood, in the way which factually compromises it. Self-management assumes integration and this integration must be free and voluntary.

3. The control of production carried out by the associated producers must be conscious and planned; the exchange with nature must be regulated in a rational manner, and not abandoned to the rule of blind powers. Self-management, therefore, assumes constant direction, the elimination of uncontrolled economic forces. That presupposes the development of culture and science, and a clear understanding of the goals of development, for without that it is useless to even speak about rationality.

4. This communal control and direction of material production should engage as little human energy as possible, for not even managing things, and above all people, can be a goal in itself, but only a means for securing truly free, creative and spontaneous activity.

5. The kind of self-management that Marx had in mind is possible only at a relatively high degree of development in a society. According to him, it “requires the kind of material basis which is the result of the long and painful history of development.” However, for anything to achieve a completely developed form, it must start to develop in time. That is why Marx so seriously and with such interest investigated the experience of the Paris Commune and derived from it conclusions for the practice of the workers' movement. That is why history will certainly justify the efforts in our country to, begin with the introduction of the first, initial forms of se lf-management even if in unripe conditions.

6. Still, in observing the conditions under which the exchange with nature is to take place, Marx does not consider the greatest success and efficiency, the greatest increase in strength over nature, the greatest material wealth as the most important things. For him, the most important thing is to carry out this process under those conditions which are the most adequate and the most worthy of the human nature of the worker.

Marx concludes the third volume of “Kapital” with that he began with in “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” and what he explained in the greatest detail in those earlier manuscripts.

There is no Marxist economy, there is no revolutionary theory without a theory of man and human nature.

Only to the degree that social relations become increasingly human can one talk of real historical progress.

Economic rationality and humanism

It is perfectly clear, then, what Marx's viewpoints were concerning the fate of commodity production during the transitory phase. He had a good enough sense of history not to expect its disappearance immediately following the workers' revolution. But it was equally clear to him that the occurrence of alienation of labour and fetishism of commodities was characteristic of every commodity production and not just that performed under capitalism. The transition from capitalism to communism was for him basically the process of the gradual supersession of reified market relations. In his opinion, the self-management of associated producers was the only way to realize this historical possibility. That is unquestionably the case, and if in addition one could observe that this model of Marx's is fully applicable to our own conditions, any engagement for the “liberation” and affirmation of the market and (“socialist” ) commodity production as a strategic principle, would obviously have a counter-revolutionary character.

All problems and disputes arise from the fact that, due to unforeseen historical circumstances, socialist revolutions broke out at a much lower level of material development than that which Marx had in mind, so that the new societies had also to carry out the historical tasks of capitalism: the abolition of feudal relations and structures of behaviour, the original accumulation, industrialization, urbanisation, development of commodity production to the level at which its radical abolition would be historically possible.

In that complex and dramatic situation petty-bourgeois and most conservative bureaucratic forces see only two alternatives from which to choose:

- either the complete liberation of “business initiative” and a maximal increase in space for a market economy regardless of all that it could bring to the social, cultural and moral plane;

- or, the substitution for uncontrolled forces regulating the economic process via the market, by a “conscious” regulation and direction on the part of the “socialist” state.

There is no doubt that this dilemma is entirely wrong. The first alternative would lead to a restauration of the social relations of bourgeois society with the essential particularity that private property on the means of production would be replaced by its own variety of group property. The second alternative would lead to the restauration of Stalinism, with the possible exception that the once primitive bureaucratic apparatus could be replaced by its own brand of symbiosis of educated bureaucrats and technocrats.

The relationship of social forces in our country is such that adherents of these extreme points of view have no hopes for success, although the direction of social movement is such that it really encourages and massively reproduces the petty-bourgeoisie, and, at the same time, among the ranks of many partisan veterans, feeds revolt which thrusts them into radically contrary positions.

The true disputes which have occurred in our country over the past few years are centered around the question: how is it possible to develop commodity production and at the same time to continue to develop socialist social relations.

There is no doubt that in a semi-developed society such as that which exists in our country commodity production with all its implications (division of labour, exchange of products according to the laws of value, and the market as one of the essential regulators of production) is still necessary.

It is questionable, however, whether a virtue should be made out of the unavoidable, whether one should make an “epochal revolutionary transformation” out of something which is not characteristic of socialism, which risks great danger, which appears as a demand resulting from the immaturity of historical opportunities and from economic, political and cultural underdevelopment.

It is especially contestable whether socialist human relations can be built up if in many important spheres of production and social activity the roads toward a gradual transcendence of commodity-money relations are not being uncovered already today.


One who takes a critical attitude toward economism need not in the least to deny:

- that people will liberate themselves from forced routine labour and production for the market only at a much higher level of technological development;

- that only in a society of abundance people definitely cease to be obsessed by the bare motive of possession and emancipate themselves for the development of the whole spectre of deeper and more refined human needs.

- that the historical phase of commodity production cannot be jumped over in this ascent towards an affluent society.

- that during this phase the market must continue to play the role of one of the essential objective indicators of economic efficiency and rationality.

However, economism, even when it tries to take a distance from Adam Smith and laissez-faire liberalism, is amazingly indifferent to the fact that one-sided “liberation of the laws of commodity production” , in the absence of such politics which would already today gradually replace the present “administrative-statist control” by some new communist forms of rational direction and humanization, must necessarily lead to a dangerous strengthening of all social structures which in socialism should be in fact weakening. Labour would increasingly take on the character of alienation and reification, the rule of objectified over live labour would become more pronounced, exploitation in the form of bureaucratic privileges would be joined by the classical forms of exploitation in the form of income not based on labour, social differences would increase instead of decrease, culture would be abandoned to the mercy of the market, and in the last analysis to that low and primitive level of needs for cultural goods which was inherited by an undeveloped capitalism.


In such a situation the petty-bourgeois ideologists who experience their almost total disorientation and ideological meandering from Smith and Bentham to Proudhon and the Marginalists as the discovery of new socialist roads – become more numerous, louder and more aggressive. They will deny that Marx ever gave a general critique of commodity production, he was concerned with capitalism only. They will utterly naively be surprised that anyone can even think that commodities by their “fetishism could infect socialism itself.” According to them, “nothing, literally nothing” would be lost by our society if the private sector would be allowed to spread out manoeuvring space and to employ a larger number of persons. (It is not the same thing to be exploited under capitalism and under socialism!) In a situation in which a stratum of socialist nouveaux riches appear who obviously did not earn their high incomes on the basis of labour, (but rather thanks to the invested past work of others, or to the monopoly on the market, favourable instruments, loop-holes in the law, privileges, speculation, myth, usurpation, the formal legal sale of social property etc.) a socialist newspaper posed the question how can one examine the origin of high salaries when the law guarantees that bank accounts and saving accounts will be “safe, unviolated, secret.” (This “secret” is printed in separate black letters, as we lived in the time of Termidor reaction and as if it finally relieved someone that the time of all of those various Jacobins, Hebertovites and Sans-Culottes has passed. Every revolution has its “Montagne” and its “Marais” , there should be no surprise in that. It is surprising, though, from how many sides one nears the voice of “Marais.” )

If critical thought is up to the mark, if its goal is to transcend rather than to destroy the present, it already contains within itself the positive solution. I will attempt, however, to formulate in a condensed explicit form what mean by the humanization of economics, and how a connection between the rationality of economics and concrete Marxist humanism is possible under today's circumstances.

1. While economism tolerates very extensive and arbitrary administrative intervention by the state in economics and in some fields where it is totally unnecessary, for example in science and in culture, it, on the other hand, proclaims the liberation of economic laws from any kind of social interference there where coordination and direction are necessary for assuring economic rationality at the level of global society, and for preventing and correcting socially unacceptable consequences of commodity-money relations.

It is essential, therefore, to make a typology of various kinds of interventions from the centre, and to differentiate among those which are irrational and functionless (and which should be much more radically abolished than economism has so far suggested), and those which are necessary for either economic rationality or for socialist humanism. The latter, if properly understood, will not be mutually exclusive. True rationality is the maximum efficiency in the realization of conscious chosen social goals, and concrete and real humanity is the choice of goals which are historically possible and which suit real social needs.

2. True social rationality, towards which socialist society should strive cannot be reduced to a simplified and one-sided formula of the “liberation of economic laws.” Commodity-money relations must be freed from arbitrary interventions by the bureaucratic apparatus, particularly those which prevent inter-republic integration and favour one economic group at the expense of the other. However, if an adequate investigation and the regulation of market uncontrolled forces has become an objective need in the whole world, then that must be particularly so for socialist society. To be concrete, it cannot permit mass unemployment, increase of social differences outside certain limits, increase in the lagging of the backward and undeveloped, stagnation and even decline of production, dangerous disproportion and instability, and drastic forms of disharmony and anarchy. If such occurrences are, particularly since 1929, the object of constant concern and control of social-political institution in the capitalist world, it is ridiculous and paradoxical to declare such intervention in socialism as “extra-system interference” and as “centralistic control.”

3. In fact, socialism must make already today a step further. Society must gradually undertake certain measures toward transcending commodity-money relations. Even that historical process is to a large degree already carried out even in capitalism: there is increasing quantity of goods and services in the fields of education, culture, social security and medical aid, in some places alimentation and dwelling, which are no longer commodities. If socialism does not wish to enter history as only a form of social organization which successfully secures retarded industrialization, it must show and show now how production can be successful for man's needs, and not for profit, i. e. income, how remuneration can be correlated to work, and not to mere success on the market, which under our conditions is often quite independent of the quantity and quality of labour, finally how “the rule of objectified over live labour” can be abolished, etc.

4. The crucial question is: who is to take over all of these measures of directing, correcting and creating new productive relations? The competence of the state must definitely be decreased, even though it will still, for some time to come, maintain certain managerial functions. A growling responsibility for regulating social processes and formulating socialist politics must be assumed by the higher-level organs of self-government which should fill the great vacuum between the enterprise and the federation.

Our society is still insufficiently organized. Instead of offering the perspective of its better organization based on democratic, self-managing principles, economism refers us to the market laws. If economism does not really believe in Adam Smith's “invisible hand” , it is still its duty to concretely show how the immediate commodity producer can effectively influence the decision-making in global society, and how it can effectively assure a higher degree of rationality from that already being achieved in capitalist society.

However, if it were to do that, economism would no longer be economism. Only then it would be dangerous for bureaucratism. As it stands, it attempts to remove from the daily order of things, or at least to postpone, the question of creating those democratic institutions which should replace bureaucratic institutions.

Essentially, this is an ideology which consciously sacrifices socialist humanism in order to eventually assure a higher degree of economic rationality and thereby to rescue bureaucratism.

However, a politic of conscious abolition of bureaucratism is necessary in order to assure economic rationality and to rescue and further develop socialist humanism.


[1] can avoid economic catastrophes

[2] “Die Entäußerung des Arbeiters in seinem Product hat die Bedeutung nicht nur daß seine Arbeit zu einem Gegenstand, zu seiner äußeren Existenz wird sondern daß sie außer ihn unabhängig, frei von ihm existiert und eine selbstständige Macht ihm gegenüber wird” (Marx-Engels, “Gesamtausgabe” I, Bd. 3, pgs 83-84).

[3] “Durch die wechselseitige Entäußerung oder Entfremdung des Privateigentums, ist das Privateigentum selbst in die Bestimmung des entaußerten Privateigentums geraten.” (MEGA, I, Bd. 3, page 538).

In his paper “Hegel und die Entfremdung”, held at the congress of Hegel in September 1966, the Soviet philosopher Iljenkov refuted the opinion that the terms “ Entäußerung” and “Entfremdung” were used in Marx's “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” as synonyms.

[4] MEGA, I Bd. 3, page 150.

[5] “Marx's Kapital cannot be completely grasped, especially his first chapter, without considering and understanding all of Hegel's Logic. Therefore, no Marxist for the past 50 years has understood Marx.” (Lenin, “Philosophical Notebooks”, ct. “Filosofskie Tetradi”, Moscow 1947, p. 154.).

[6] MEGA, I Bd. 3 page 546.

[7] “Das Kapital”, Bd. I, Kap. 1, C 4.

[8] Op. cit. Bd. I, Kap. 23, 4.

[9] Loc. cit.

[10] Op. cit. Bd. III, K. 14, 1.

[11] “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (Marx's concept of man)”, edited by Fromm, N. Y., 1961, page 125.

[12] Ibid., page 126.

[13] MEGA, page 93.

[14] “Das Kapital”, Bd. I, Kap. 6.

[16] Marx-Engels, “Werke”, Bd. 1 Berlin, 1955, page 384.

[17] “A Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of the State and of Law” , page 297, “In bureaucracy the identity of state interests and particular economic goals is posed in such a way that state interest becomes a separate private goal against other private goals.”

[18] Ibid.

[19] Loc. cit.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Marx-Engels, “Werke”, Bd. I, Berlin, 1955, page 379.

[22] “Das Kapital”, Volksausgabe, Berlin, 1947, Bd. 1, page 184.

[23] “A Critique of the Gotha Programme”, (Marx, Engels, “Collected Works”), Kultura, 1950, book IV, 3, vol. II, page 22, “culture” 125-126.

[24] “The Poverty of Philosophy.”

[25] “The Communist Manifesto” (part I, page 33).

[26] “Address to the general council of international workers union of the civil war in France”, Marx, “The Civil War in France”, 1871, introduction (Marx, Engels, “Selected Works”, Kultura, Belgrade 1947, page 43. 4).

[27] “Das Kapital”, Bd. 1, Kap. 1. C 4.

[28] “Das Kapital”, III, K. 48, 2. Kultura, Belgrade, 1948, pages 710-711.