Freedom in Karl Marx's Das Kapital

Abbott, Donald Patrick (1983) Freedom in Karl Marx's Das Kapital. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

A concise statement of the nature of freedom, which contains aspects of individual freedom and social freedom, can be extracted from the economic discussions that form the substance of Karl Marx's Das Kapital (Capital, volume 1). The account of the individual freedom involves the concern of individuals who want to be free of the interference of capital. It is an expanded consideration of non-interference associated traditionally with the ideal liberal notion of negative freedom, and it has its basis in the universal condition of existence where individuals labour in order to survive. -- Social freedom is concerned with how individuals labour in each changing social form, and in capitalist society it is primarily concerned with the lack of freedom of those who sell their labour- power in acquiring a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of society. Marx argues that it is because of the sale of labour-power that capitalism comes into existence, and once the intense accumulation of nineteenth century European capitalism is completed then a new social form will have to replace capitalism. In Das Kapital Marx depends neither on the eventual collapse of capitalism in order for individuals to acquire greater freedom in society, nor does he propose a positive programme, explainable by dialectics, to overthrow capitalism. Instead, he argues that greater freedom develops in society by both reform and revolution. -- The argument proceeds as follows: Chapter One presents the discussion of freedom in relation to the distinction of negative and positive freedom in Isaiah Berlin’s “Two Concepts of Liberty.” Chapter Two considers recent criticism of Berlin’s notion of negative freedom, and I maintain that Marx allows for an expanded consideration of negative freedom where individuals are motivated to be free of the interference of capital. Chapter Three argues that both reform and revolution are vehicles for social change in Das Kaptial, and Marx doesn't outline a positive programme for the future. The final chapter (Chapter Four) presents Marx's account of freedom which is based on the notions of individual freedom and social freedom.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7792
Item ID: 7792
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [113]-114.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 1983
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Marx, Karl, 1818-1883;

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