MAX WEBER ON CAPITALISM: Max Weber (1864 ??? 1920) was a left-wing liberal German political economist and sociologist. He despised the nobility and the seeking of power for its own ends. He studied capitalism in general and the part of religion in particular. Rise of Capitalism Some religions enable the march of capitalism, whilst others, such as Hinduism and Confucianism, do not. A key trigger in the Reformation was the removal of simple guarantees of being saved through belief, which led people to seek other routes to salvation. ??? Protestant work ethic
Weber coined the term ‘Protestant work ethic’ to describe a dedication to simplicity and hard work that the Protestant branches of the Christian church espoused. The paradox of the Protestant work ethic was that whilst hard work led to commercial success, it was a sin (particularly in Calvinism) to spend the money on oneself or religious icons (Protestant churches are very simple, unlike Catholic ones). The way out was investment, which simply led to even more commercial success. Mass-production also supported Protestant ideas of equality and countered individualism.
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Commercial success and personal simplicity was seen as a particular demonstration of piety. If you can be rich yet resist the easy temptation it brings, then surely you will get into heaven. ??? The evolution of capitalism In this way, modern capitalism actually grew from religious seeking of wealth as a symbol of work. Over time in Western society the temptations of spending money on oneself increased and perhaps led to the decline in the religious element. Capitalism was thus established as a ‘religion’ of its own. ??? Capitalism unfettered
Weber described the spirit of capitalism as the ideas and habits that support the rational pursuit of economic gain. Without the restraints of religion, greed and laziness lead to making the maximum amount of money for the minimum effort. Where Capitalism is Not Weber noted that Capitalism was not a necessary or inevitable thing. ??? China In his study of Chinese religions of Confucianism and Taoism, Weber noted that several factors did not lead to Capitalism, including: ? Confucianism supported many cults and variations.
There was no unified priestly class. ? The Emperor was the high priest and worshipped to the gods. The people stuck to their ancestors. ? There was no unifying force to challenge the Emperor. Guilds were many and kinship loyalty fragmented society. ? Confucianism taught that pursuit of wealth was wrong (but having was not). People thus sought status in officialdom, which was unified with the emperor. ? Sale of land was often prohibited. Confucianism was the state cult. Taoism was the popular ‘religion’, which was more a pacifist philosophy and had no gods. ??? India
Weber studied of the orthodoxy of Hinduism and the heterodoxy of Buddhism within the sociology of India. Indian society is based around the status division of castes, made up of priests, warriors, merchants and workers, which inhibited the development of urban status groups, as castes were evenly spread and fixed social grouping. The religions support this status quo with a view of an immutable world order. Notions of Karma and fatalism thus lead to people accepting their lot. The world was interpreted in mystical ways and intellectuals tended to be apolitical.
There was also no ‘Messianic prophesy’ that gave hope of better things to the common people. Society and State Weber noted the pre-eminence of the state in Western culture. He recognized the need for ‘ideal types’ of society, but with an understanding that ideals are gross simplifications, missing out much of the messy reality. He identified a ‘three-component theory of stratification’ of society: ? Social class: based on economic relationship to the market, e. g. employee, owner, lessee. ? Status: based on non-economical elements, e. g. eligion, family, qualification. ? Party: affiliations to political parties and groups, e. g. Liberal, Greenpeace, Conservative. ??? Monopoly on force The state has a monopoly on physical force and the use of this is given to police and military only. All other use is outlawed, except to defend one’s body or property in given circumstances. In the past, the church has been able to use force, for example in inquisitions and witch-hunts, but this right has gradually been removed. ??? Political leadership Weber identified three pure types of political leadership: Domination and authority: charismatic domination by families and religions. ? Traditional domination: authoritarian domination by patriarchs and through feudal societies. ? Legal domination: in modern systems of state and bureaucracy. He counsels politicians to combing the ethics of ultimate ends and of responsibility, having both passion for the work and the ability to distance oneself from the people being governed. ??? Bureaucracy Weber is also very well known for his descriptions of bureaucracy. He did not particularly like it, but realized that, done well; it is both efficient and effective.
He was concerned that social values of grace and benevolence would be replaced by cold utilitarian values and officialdom. This is similar to Marx’s principle of alienation. He predicted correctly that the Soviet communist system would end up as an over-bureaucratized state. He identified seven factors that govern a bureaucratic organization: rules, specialization, meritocracy, hierarchy, separate ownership, impersonality and accountability Weber’s later account of the origins of Capitalism The General Economic History??is Weber’s last work.
An account of the theory of capitalism found in it is given by Randall Collins in ‘Weber’s Last Theory of Capitalism’,??American Sociological Review??45 (1980). Capitalism is ‘rational’ in the sense that it bases decisions on calculations of likely return; this presupposes some degree of predictability, in particular a predictable legal system; capitalism also supposes that there are free markets for products and for labor and other factors of production, and that these markets are wide – given wide markets and some predictability innovation in search of profit gets under way.
Among the social preconditions of the original development of capitalism are a predictable legal system, and behind that a state bureaucracy; and (to establish wide markets) a habit of treating all people as having rights and as possible partners in law-regulated commercial dealings. In some societies a strong distinction is made between insiders and outsiders: one does not drive commercial bargains with insiders, and one does not much respect the rights of outsiders. Universalistic’ religions such as Christianity break down such distinctions. Behind the legal order is the notion of universal citizenship – that residents are mostly citizens with rights, not subjects at the ruler’s discretion; universalistic religion favors that. The legal order also requires a bureaucratic state to enforce the law – professional administrators and jurists. The bureaucratic state arose partly by natural selection, because such states can supply larger armies with better weapons. Weber notes the analogy between capitalism, in which workers do not own the means of production, bureaucracies in which bureaucrats do not own their offices or means of administration, and armies using centrally supplied and team-operated weapons). The bureaucratic state presupposes literacy (which religion may foster), and various other factors. So the chain (or rather web) of causation is traced backward to many factors. Calvinist predestination is not mentioned; Protestantism figures as another surge of Christian universalism, and as abolishing the monasteries.
The abolition of monasteries is important as removing an obstacle, namely the preoccupation of people with the strongest religious motivation with other-worldly ends. According to Collins ‘Weber’s constant theme is that the??pattern of relations among the various factors??is crucial in determining their effect upon economic rationalization’. If one factor is by itself, or very much stronger than the others, capitalism will not develop; for example, if the state is too strong by itself it tends to stifle capitalism.
Weber’s theory as Collins describes it does not exemplify Mill’s project of finding some central chain in the filiations of one stage from another, around which everything else can be organizes – a project of which Marx’s theory is an example. Rather it sounds like Mill’s emphasis on consensus: ‘Any one factor occurring by itself tends to have opposite effects, overall, to those which it has in combination with the other factors’; Collins. As Collins remarks, ‘Weber’s position might well be characterized as … eeing history as a concatenation of unique events and unrepeatable complexities’,??ibid. Collins writes: ‘The discipline of historical scholarship reached its maturity around the end of the nineteenth century. Not only had political and military history reached a high degree of comprehensiveness and accuracy, but so had the history of law, religion, and economic institutions not only for Europe and the ancient Mediterranean but for the Orient as will… Weber was perhaps the first great master of the major institutional facts of world history’,??ibid.
This exaggerates Weber’s standing as an historian. Still, it is worth noting that the progress of historical scholarship does not seem favorable to the idea that there is a central chain of causation running through history. (Of course this may be due simply to a reaction on the part of bourgeois scholars against the prevailing materialist versions of this idea – the lessons of historical scholarship are never clear enough to rule out class, religious and other prejudices). So far we have been considering Weber’s view of the origin of capitalism.
A few remarks on his view of its future. Once capitalism has come into being and is well established the factors which led to its existence need not be the ones that keep it in existence, and there may be others that tend to destroy it. It may be that there is no incompatibility between Weber’s account of the origin of capitalism and Marx’s account of its future: though Weber’s story weakens the materialist theory of history in its crudest form (Weber’s late theory attributes an important role to religious and other ideas, though not as n??The Protestant Ethic), Marx’s prognosis for capitalism is not based on the crude form of the materialist theory of history. In fact it does not seem to be based on any form of the materialist theory of history: Marx’s analysis is of what is specific to capitalism, and, if it were valid, could stand apart from any more general theory of history, as far as I can see. As capitalism goes on some of the factors that brought it into being, such as Christianity, are eroded by capitalism itself; with – in this case – perhaps some weakening of the structure. The closing words of the book speak of the threat of working class revolution which appears once capitalism matures and work discipline loses its religious legitimation’. ‘In the advanced societies, the skeleton of the economic structure might even be taken over by socialism’,??ibid. This sounds like a possible anticipation of Schumpeter. Expropriation On Marx’s account, Capitalism presupposes a ‘primitive accumulation’ that was achieved by forcible expropriation. According to Weber, the expropriation of some may result simply from the competitive advantage others have in a market.
If a few become systematic in pursuit of money others will end up as their employees. As capitalism continues to develop expropriation of laborers results from the competitive advantage enjoyed by autocratic management with complete control over productive resources: because of the ‘bargaining superiority which management, by virtue of its possession of property, has enjoyed, both on the labor market in relation to the worker, and in the commodity market, by virtue of its capital accounting, and its command over capital gods and credit.
In these ways it is superior to any [other] type of competitor’. There need be no forcible expropriation – though Weber acknowledges the existence of ‘booty’ capitalism and other spoliative kinds. Weber uses the notion of expropriation in analyzing not only economic institutions but also others. Government requires certain material goods. In some states these goods are the property of the staff, in others the staff is separated from the means of administration or coercion. This distinction holds in the same sense in which today we say that the salaried employee and the proletarian in the capitalistic enterprise are “separated” from the material means of production’. In the second kind of state the staff are ‘non-owners… who do not use the material means of administration in their own right but are directed by the lord’,??ibid. Feudal states exemplify the first type. The development of the modern state was the expropriation of the feudal lords by the prince. The whole process is a complete parallel to the development of the capitalist enterprise through gradual expropriation of the independent producers’. ‘The bureaucratization of … the universities is a function of the increasing demand for material means of management. … Through the concentration of such means in the hands of the privileged head of the institute, the mass of researchers and docents are separated from their “means of production” in the same way as capitalist enterprise has separated the workers from theirs’.
Weber’s??Protestant Ethic??hypothesis, and Marx’s ‘materialist’ hypothesis, has stimulated a good deal of historical research, especially in economic history. What often happens in the study of history is that some imaginative and exciting hypothesis is put forward, with too much assurance, and then several generations of academic historians test it against the facts and gradually decide that the exciting hypothesis was too imaginative. The moral to draw from such experience is, however, not that imagination should be restrained.
If it were not for the imaginers the factual researchers would simply drown in fact. But it does seem to me that the project of explaining what caused capitalism by examining its origins in certain places in Europe is a bit like trying to explain what causes thunderstorms by investigating why this one started in a certain part of the country. Perhaps there were in??many??places conditions that could easily have led to the development of capitalism, if conditions had been only slightly different – and perhaps the difference needed was one thing in one place, another thing in another.
If what is needed in such situations is just a slight difference, perhaps historians will never be able to discover what slight difference it was that precipitated the development. MARX ON CAPITALISM: Marx applied his theory of history to the society and economy of his time in order to discover the laws of motion of capitalism and to identify contradictions between the forces and relations of production. He was concerned with long-run trends in the economy; when he examined the present, t was always in the context of the present as history. In his analysis of capitalism, he formulated certain principles that have become known as Marxian laws and are treated with much the same reverence by some Marxists as the laws of supply and demand are by some orthodox economists. The Marxian laws of capitalism include the following: a reserve army of the unemployed, a falling rate of profit, business crises, increasing concentration of industry into fewer firms, and increasing misery within the proletariat.
In his analysis of the economics of capitalism, Marx used, with a few exceptions, the basic tools of classical economics, particularly Riparian theory. Thus, he assumed (1) a labor cost theory explaining relative prices, (2) neutral money, (3) constant returns in manufacturing, (4) diminishing returns in agriculture, (5) perfect competition, (6) a rational, calculating economic man, and (7) a modified version of the wages fund doctrine. In most of his analysis he rejected the Ricardian assumptions of fixed coefficients of production, full employment, and the Malthusian population doctrine.
It is important to realize that part of the difference between Marx and Ricardo in their analysis of the economics of capitalism does not proceed from any difference in their basic analytical framework; rather, it comes from a difference in their respective ideologies. Because Marx was critical of capitalism, he examined it with a view to finding faults or contradictions in the system; Ricardo basically accepted it and saw it as a harmonious working-out of the economic process.
The chief actor in the Marxian model, as in the Ricardian model, is the capitalist. The capitalist’s search for profits and reaction to changing rates of profits explain, in large part, the dynamics of the capitalist system. But whereas capitalists in the Marxian system rationally and calculatingly pursue their economic advantage and sow the seeds of their own destruction, in the Ricardian system these same rational and calculating capitalists, in following their own self-interest, promote the social good.
Although the classical economists’ long-run prediction of a stationary state is certainly pessimistic, such a state is not the fault of the capitalistic system; rather, in their view, it follows from Malthusian population doctrine and historically diminishing returns in agriculture. For Marx, however, the capitalistic system produces undesirable social consequences; as the contradictions in capitalism become more manifest over time he said, capitalism . as a phase of history will pass away. The Reserve Army of the Unemployed Marx rejected Malthusian population theory.
In classical analysis this theory had been essential to explain the existence of profits. The classical economists maintained that capital accumulation leads to an increased demand for labor and a rise in the real wage of labor. If wages continued to rise with capital accumulation, the level of profits would fall. The Malthusian population doctrine, however, explained why wages do not rise to a level at which profits cease to exist: any increase in wages will lead to a larger population and labor force, and wages will then be pushed back to a subsistence level.
The Malthusian population theory, therefore, not only accounts for the existence of profits in the classical system but also partly explains the forces determining wage rates. Rejecting the Malthusian theory meant that Marx had to find some other vehicle to explain the existence of surplus value and profits. In the Marxian model, increased capital accumulation will increase the demand for labor. As wage rates rise, what keeps surplus value and profits from decreasing to zero?
Marx’s answer to this question lies in his concept of the reserve army of the unemployed, which plays the same theoretical role in his system as does the Malthusian population theory in the classical model. According to Marx, there is always an excess supply of labor in the market, which has the effect of depressing wages and keeping surplus value and profits positive. He saw the reserve army of the unemployed as being recruited from several sources. Direct recruitment occurs when machines replace humans in production processes.
The capitalists’ search for profits leads them to introduce new machines, thereby increasing the capital intensity in the economy. The workers displaced by the new technology are not absorbed into other areas of the economy. Indirect recruitment results from the entry of new members into the labor force. Children finishing school and housewives who desire to enter the labor market as their family responsibilities change find that jobs are not available and enter the ranks of the unemployed. This reserve army of the unemployed keeps down wages in the competitive labor market.
The size of the reserve army and the level of profits and wages vary, in Marx’s system, with the business cycle. During periods of expanding business activity and capital accumulation, wages increase and the size of the reserve army diminishes. This increase in wages ultimately leads to a reduction in profits, to which the capitalist reacts by substituting machinery for labor. The unemployment created by this substitution of capital for labor pushes down wages and restores profits. The concept of the reserve army of the unemployed is counter to several aspects of orthodox analysis.
Ricardo had suggested the possibility of short-run technological unemployment in a new chapter, “On Machinery,” in the third edition of his Principles. In the classical system, technological unemployment, or any unemployment other than frictional unemployment, is not possible in the long run. Marx’s assumption of long-run, persistent technological unemployment amounts to a rejection of Say’s Law, which predicted full employment of resources. Most orthodox economic theorists have never been willing to accept Marx’s reserve army of the unemployed for the following reasons.
The notion of the reserve army implies the existence of an excess supply of labor???a labor market that is not cleared. But if quantity supplied exceeds quantity demanded and competitive markets exist, economic forces will push down wages until quantity supplied equals quantity demanded and the market clears. Because Marx assumed perfectly competitive markets, an orthodox theorist would argue that the logic of Marx’s own system invalidates his concept of persistent technological unemployment.
A Marxist would counter this argument by pointing out that the orthodox framework is one of comparative statics???that is, it assumes that as the forces of supply and demand work to lower wages and reduce unemployment, other things remaining equal and that, in particular, no replacement of people by machines takes place as the labor market clears. The Marxists would admit that the orthodox analysis is theoretically correct, given the static framework of orthodox theory, but they would argue that a more dynamic analysis of the labor market would allow for permanent disequilibrium.
Modern orthodox macroeconomists who focus on dynamic search theory would agree that something that might look like long-run disequilibrium in a comparative static framework might exist, although they would argue that excess labor supply suggests that an average above-competitive equilibrium wage exists in an economy. One possible means of exploring the validity of Marx’s concept of a reserve army of the unemployed is to examine the level of unemployment over time.
This procedure will not, however, give an unequivocal answer, as the definition of unemployment used for statistical measurement contains some anomalies. In most countries, unemployed persons are considered to be the part of the labor force that is seeking jobs but cannot find them. Some members of the population are not seeking jobs precisely because they have been unable to find work in the past and have therefore dropped out of the labor force. For example, a worker who preferred to be employed might spend several months actively seeking work and then decide to drop out of the labor force.
If employment opportunities should improve, that worker might reenter the labor force. The ratio of those actively in the labor force to the total population, often called the participation ratio, varies directly with the level of business activity. A person who is working part-time but who would prefer full-time employment is usually considered to be employed. A Marxist would claim that both the dropout and the part-timer help to push down wage rates and should be included in the reserve army of the unemployed.
Even if a satisfactory statistical measure of the size of the reserve army of the unemployed were available, it is not clear that this would validate or invalidate the Marxian notion that such a reserve army prevents wages from rising so that surplus value and profits are eliminated. How much unemployment is required to produce a positive rate of surplus value and profits? The issue is further clouded, perhaps hopelessly, by the fact that the Marxian model assumes competitive markets, not the oligopolistic firms nd labor unions of the modern economy. Thus, empirical work may never resolve the issue of whether or not there exists a reserve army of the unemployed. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WEBER AND MARX OPINION ON CAPITALISM Both Carl Marx and Max Weber wrote extensively on capitalism, its origins, and its future. Although, they agreed on a few very small points, for the main part, they strongly disagreed. Only through the analysis of their main differences in the two ideologies can a stronger and broader understanding of capitalism be reached.
Marx believed strongly in what he called dialectical materialism, that is, that everything is material and that change takes place through the struggle between classes. He believed that men make their own history and transform their natural habitat to fit their changing needs. “Men begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence. . . In producing their means of subsistence men indirectly produce their actually material life. ” Throughout history men transform nature to make it better serve their own purposes.
According to Marx, all societies go through five stages of history and capitalism is simply a necessary stage between feudalism and the final step of communism. The way in which men create their social organization is based on modes of production. Changes within these societies occur because as the mode of production changes, it no longer fits the present social organization. Therefore, a new class and hence a new form of society emerges. During Feudalism merchants were inferior. Nevertheless, as cities grew the number of merchants grew as well.
With their increase in number came an increase in economic power. When the state was unwilling to change to their needs, they formed a revolution resulting in capitalism. Weber has a different perspective on why and how capitalism came about. Rather than just focusing on how capitalism came about, he focuses on finding an answer to the question of why capitalism happened where and when it did. When he looked for differences in the capitalist cultures and non-capitalist cultures at the time he found that capitalism occurred at the same time as the Protestant reformation.
The obvious next question for Weber was why was it the Protestant culture that led to capitalism. He found a large explanation within the difference between Protestants and Catholics. For Catholics, priests had the power to forgive you of your sins. Therefore, all that was necessary for you to do to get absolution was to confess your sins. For Protestants this was much more difficult. Because Protestant priests were only teachers, they did not have the luxury of simply confessing their sins. Protestants also believed that their souls were predestined to go to either heaven or hell.
Nonetheless, Protestants felt that they could determine the status of their souls through their calling. As Weber says, “The only way of living acceptably to God was solely though the fulfillment of the obligations imposed on the individual by his position in the world. This was his calling. ” As Protestants worked in their callings, their God given field of study in which to work, the amount of success that they achieved was a sign from God as to the predestination of their souls. For this reason, Protestants developed a wonderful work ethic.
However, they were not allowed to spend the money that they earned. Instead they saved and invested it. Weber found this to be strong evidence that, “One’s duty in a calling is what is most characteristic of the social ethic of capitalistic culture, and is in a sense the fundamental basis of it”. Weber also found that this work ethic was strong throughout all economic classes no matter what their individual callings were. He found the division of labor that came naturally through capitalism to be a good thing. It did not lead to the separating of society into two very different and conflicting classes.
Instead, it formed a number of different classes that were related to each man’s life style and calling. Each man’s God given calling was different from that of his fellow man because God intended it to be so. The division of labor led to the specialization of occupations and increased development of skills, which in turn caused an improvement in production. The division of labor therefore serves the common good. Marx had a completely opposite opinion of the division of labor. In his eyes, the division of labor is what leads to the formation of hostile and conflicting classes.
These classes are distinguished by their access, or lack thereof, to the means of production and consequently, their level of power. However, similar to Weber’s view that your position within these classes is determined by an outside source, in Weber’s case God, Marx believed that you were born into your social class and that you could not change your position. According to Marx though, this division of labor is what leads to the vicious cycle of capitalism. The division of labor allows for work to become very machine like which, in turn, alienates the worker from his work and his product.
This alienation leads as well, to the estrangement of man from himself and from his fellow man because man’s identity becomes his work. The division of labor and mechanization of labor also standardizes jobs as well as the workforce. Thus making workers easily replaceable like parts of a machine. This is not a problem when profits are high and the economy is growing. During times of good economic conditions wages will increase as well. In turn, the profit margin on labor will decrease leading to layoffs and increased unemployment. This will cause small businesses to collapse and wages to once again decrease.
However, at this point, consumption will have fallen because there is less disposable income. Companies will again hire more of these standardized workers who will work for lower wages because they are unemployed. This will again increase the capitalist profit and the cycle begins again. This alienation of the working class is not at all natural and therefore causes great problems. As said by Marx, men are naturally productive creatures. The fundamental nature of man is his consciousness and his ability to control that which surrounds him.
During the process of standardizing labor workers themselves become part of the end product and thus, “Labor produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity”. Because man is naturally productive, his labor is an expression of himself. By alienating himself from his labor as well as the product and turning himself and his labor into a commodity, his is in turn being alienated from himself. Man is also naturally a social being. However, through the commodification of man and his labor, capitalism also causes the commodification of human relations.
This is the estrangement of man from his fellow man. This causes men to treat each other in instrumental terms. Now, acquaintances are made simply under the thought of, “What can you do for me? ” Because of the vicious cycle described above and the capitalistic drive for more profit which causes it, the working class will grow in size due to the increased demand for workers. However, through this struggle the commodification of human relations will diminish and the unity within the working class will increase as well therefore increasing and strengthening the class consciousness.
The working class becomes increasingly disgruntled which leads to a struggle between the lower and upper classes which, because history is dialectical and not static, will lead to a revolution that will cause capitalism to fall. These specific conditions of capitalism are what caused the alienation and exploitation, and thus, they are the specific conditions which must be changed. Accordingly, the working class will take over the means of production and bring into being the final stage of society, that being communism.
Within communism false consciousness and alienation do not exist. Once the people recognize that we all depend on each other people will work more freely and voluntarily. Production will increase because man will no longer be alienated from his work and will once again be naturally productive. Weber is not so optimistic about the future of capitalism. He believes that the history of the future cannot be predicted but that it is cyclical with not end, rather than a linear progression with a definite end as Marx predicts. No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a rebirth of old ideas and ideals. . . “. However, like Marx, Weber does not see capitalism as an idealistic form of society. When it began, the Puritans chose to live their life through their calling and therefore through capitalism. Weber agreed with Richard Baxter that, “The care of external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the ‘saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment. ‘ But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage”.
The Puritans were able to choose how they wanted to live their live but now we must live as if we were Puritans locked within this iron cage. Although Marx and Weber do agree that capitalism is not the best social or economic system they differ very strongly in their views of the formation, aspects, and future of capitalism. By examining the philosophies of both men a better understanding of capitalism as a whole can be reached. DELEUZE ON CAPITALISM IN CONTRAST TO MARX Gilles Deleuze??(French pronunciation:??[? il d? loz]), (18 January 1925????? 4 November 1995) was a French??philosopher??of the late 20th century.
From the early 1960s until his death, Deleuze wrote many influential works on??philosophy,??literature,??film, and??fine art. His most popular books were the two volumes of??Capitalism and Schizophrenia:??Anti-Oedipus??(1972) and??A Thousand Plateaus(1980), both co-written with??Felix Guattari. Deleuze and Guattari describe history as a congealing and regimentation of “desiring-production” (a concept combining features of??Freudian??drives and Marxist??labor) into the modern individual (typically neurotic and repressed), the nation-state (a society of continuous control), and capitalism (an anarchy domesticated into infantilizing commoditization).
Deleuze, following??Marx, welcomes capitalism’s destruction of traditional social hierarchies as liberating, but inveighs against its homogenization of all values to the aims of the market. Deleuze??and Guattari’s twin volumes, “Capitalism” and “Schizophrenia,” have often generated questions about desire, bodies without organs, and schizophrenia, but very few scholars have studied the numerous political problems these intellectuals attempt to resolve through their analyses of concepts such as de-/re-territorialization, coding and re-coding, and others.
In other words, the specter Karl Marx which haunts the work of Deleuze and Guattari has yet to be explored and debated. This volume analyzes the relationship between??Deleuze, Guattari, and Marx??in their respective works. Constituting an intervention into the fields of Deleuze studies, Marxist and Marxian philosophy, political economy, and critiques of capitalism, this volume addresses such themes as hegemony and theories of imperialism, the role of philosophy in changing the world, surplus, tensions between the virtual and he potential, ideology and neology, modes of production, and the very nature of anti-capitalist politics in Deleuze’s work. The collection will interest scholars of??Deleuze who study questions of politics and critiques of Capitalism Marxist theory, and philosophy, as well as those focused on questions of political economy. Deleuze and Guattari??[pic]see correspondences between capitalism and??[pic]schizophrenia, although they conceptualize the??[pic]relationship quite differently. This difference??[pic]stems in part from the??[pic]philosophies of the authors.
Marx with??[pic]modernist sympathies is different from Deleuze and Guattari, who??[pic]could be classified as postmodernist,??[pic]or poststructuralist. Furthermore, Marx is??[pic]a modernist intellectual who studies??[pic]postmodernism while Deleuze and Guattari??[pic]can be described as postmodernist??[pic]theorists. [pic]It is the schizoid’s ability??[pic]to scramble and decode that??[pic]Deleuze and Guattari associate with??[pic]contemporary capitalism. [pic]Capitalism can insert itself anywhere??[pic]and everywhere as a decoder??[pic]and scrambler. [pic]Although,
Our [capitalist] societies??[pic]exhibit a marked taste for??[pic]all codes??codes foreign and??[pic]exotic… this taste is destructive??[pic]and morbid. While decoding doubtless??[pic]means understanding and translating a??[pic]code, it also means destroying??[pic]the code as such, assigning??[pic]it an archaic, folkloric, or residual??[pic]function. Mobile, flexible capital is capable??[pic]of inserting itself into any??[pic]cultural milieu. In countries as??[pic]different as Japan, Brazil, France,??[pic]and Kenya, capitalism is able??[pic]to take advantage of the??[pic]local symbolic order (Harvey 1989). pic]The forms that capitalism takes??[pic]in these various countries reflect??[pic]the symbolic order that the??[pic]capitalist machine has plugged into. [pic]Thus, Deleuze and Guattari do??[pic]not characterize the capitalist machine??[pic]as monolithic or unitary??it??[pic]does not have an “I”,??[pic]an ego, or a unified??[pic]identity. It works instead as??[pic]a polymorphous destroyer of codes. [pic]It continually breaks down the??[pic]cultural, symbolic, and linguistic barriers??[pic]that create territories and limit??[pic]exchange.
Thus, Deleuze and Guattari??[pic]assert that “civilization is??[pic]defined by the decoding and??[pic]deterritorialization of flows in capitalist??[pic]production”??[pic] [pic]It would seem that Deleuze??[pic]and Guattari are making a??[pic]move similar to Marx’s by??[pic]asserting that schizophrenia resembles and??[pic]is associated with the logic??[pic]of late capitalism. “Yet it??[pic]would be a serious error,”??[pic]assert Deleuze and Guattari, “to??[pic]consider the capitalist flows and??[pic]the schizophrenic flows as identical,??[pic]under the general theme of… pic]decoding”. Capitalism “produces schizos??[pic]the same way it produces??[pic]Prell shampoo or Ford cars”??[pic]but the schizos are not??[pic]salable. Indeed, the schizophrenic??[pic]is locked up in institutions,??[pic]and turned into a “confined??[pic]clinical entity”. If the??[pic]schizophrenic really exemplified the culture??[pic]of capitalism, why aren’t schizos??[pic]celebrated as heroes and heroines??[pic]in contemporary capitalist society? Deleuze??[pic]and Guattari conclude??[pic]that: chizophrenia is the exterior limit??[pic]of capitalism itself or the??[pic]conclusion of its deepest tendency,??[pic]but that capitalism only functions??[pic]on condition that it inhibit??[pic]this tendency, or that it??[pic]push back or displace this??[pic]limit…. Hence schizophrenia is not??[pic]the identity of capitalism, but??[pic]on the contrary its difference,??[pic]its divergence, and its??[pic]death. As capitalism decodes and deterritorializes??[pic]it reaches a limit at??[pic]which point it must artificially??[pic]reterritorialize by augmenting the state??[pic]apparatus, and repressive bureaucratic and??[pic]symbolic regimes.
The schizophrenic never??[pic]reaches such a limit. S/he??[pic]resists such reterritorialization, just??[pic]as s/he resists the??[pic]symbolic and despotic territorialization of??[pic]the oedipalizing??[pic]psychotherapist. [pic]Thus, Deleuze and Guattari disagree??[pic]with Marx’s argument that schizophrenia[pic]reinforces and contributes to the??[pic]hegemony of capitalism. Instead, Deleuze??[pic]and Guattari see the schizophrenic??[pic]as capitalism’s exterminating angel. For??[pic]them the schizo is a??[pic]radical, revolutionary, nomadic wanderer who??[pic]resists all forms of oppressive??[pic]power.
They believe that radical??[pic]political movements should “learn from??[pic]the psychotic how to shake??[pic]off the oedipal yoke and??[pic]the effects of power, in??[pic]order to initiate a radical??[pic]politics of desire freed from??[pic]all beliefs”. Schizophrenic[pic]sensibilities can replace ideological and??[pic]dogmatic political goals with a??[pic]radical form of productive desire. [pic]This “desiring-production” brings the unconscious??[pic]into the real, and unleashes??[pic]its radical world-making potential.
Productive??[pic]desire need not be solipsistic,??[pic]and includes the “group psychosis”??[pic]induced by radical postmodern artistic[pic]creations and political movements. Neither??[pic]is desiring-production limited to clinical??[pic]schizophrenics. Desiring-production marks the schizophrenic??[pic]potential in everyone to resist??[pic]the power of despotic signifiers??[pic]and capitalist??[pic]reterritorialization. [pic]Deleuze and Guattari see schizophrenia??[pic]as a central part of??[pic]a subversive postmodern politics with??[pic]the radical potential to bring??[pic]down capitalism. Marx’s view could??[pic]not be more different.
For??[pic]him, postmodern schizophrenic culture “replicates,”??[pic]”reproduces,” and “reinforces” the logic??[pic]of capitalism. How??[pic]can we resolve this contradiction??[pic]which transverses the divide between??[pic]modernism and postmodernism and highlights??[pic]the fundamentally different political sensibilities??[pic]of these two groups? It??[pic]is a contradiction which causes??[pic]us to question how psychoanalytical??[pic]concepts and capitalism resist and??[pic]reinforce each other. Most importantly,??[pic]it is a contradiction that??[pic]informs our reaction and resistance??[pic]to consumer capitalist??[pic]culture.