"Marcuse's Hegelian Marxism, Marx's Grundrisse, Hegel's Dialectic" (First published in Radical Philosophy Review", Volume 16, No. 1, 2013)
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Russell Rockwell, "The Freedom and Necessity Dialectic: Marcuse, Kosik, and Today"
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
The Concrete Distress of Human Existence
Herbert Marcuse and Absolute Struggle in 2013
by JAVIER SETHNESS CASTRO
“One can delineate the domain of philosophy however one likes, but in its search for truth, philosophy is always concerned with human existence. Authentic philosophizing refuses to remain at the stage of knowledge […]. Care for human existence and its truth makes philosophy a ‘practical science’ in the deepest sense, and it also leads philosophy—and this is the crucial point—into the concrete distress of human existence.”– Herbert Marcuse, “On Concrete Philosophy” (1929)
According to Wolin, Marcuse must have felt the risks of such a dictatorship to be less than those associated with liberal or Stalinist regimes; the speaker even cited Marcuse’s declaration in Eros and Civilization that, “From Plato to Rousseau, the only honest answer is the idea of an educational dictatorship, exercised by those who are supposed to have acquired knowledge of the real Good.” Curiously, though, Wolin failed to include Marcuse’s next sentence in his comments refuting the idea: “The answer has since become obsolete: knowledge of the available means for creating a humane existence for all is no longer confined to a privileged elite.”
During the afternoon of the conference’s second day, I attended a panel on “Marcuse, Marx, and Marxisms,”... Russell Rockwell, co-editor of the recently published Dunayevskaya-Marcuse-Fromm Correspondence, 1954-1978 (2013), presented on the trajectories and intersections of the Marxisms advanced by Marcuse and critical psychoanalyst Erich Fromm respectively. Against established trends which would largely suppress consideration of Fromm’s significant contributions to the nascent Institute for Social Research, Rockwell explained how Fromm felt psychoanalysis could productively serve as a complement to Marxian economism, and he mentioned Fromm’s 1929 lecture to the Institute of Psychoanalysis which cited Marx favorably. He also brought up Fromm’s 1929 psychological study of workers in Weimar Germany, which was rejected for publication with the Institute for Social Research for practical political considerations—it held that some three-quarters of the German working population would not resist Hitler if he seized power, while only an estimated 15 percent had personality structures which Fromm felt would lead them to actively resist him. Indeed, the work did not see the light of day for over five decades. Rockwell stressed that both Fromm and Marcuse shared an interest in the humanism of the young Marx, unlike most of the rest of the theorists associated with the Frankfurt School.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
This past summer, David H. Autor, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and David Dorn, assistant professor of economics at the Center for Monetary and Financial Studies in Madrid, wrote an article in the New York Times, "How Technology Wrecks the Middle Class". Autor has been a primary figure in promoting the thesis that technological changes in the economy are responsible for job market "polarization"-- as employment in routine jobs has ebbed, employment has risen both in high-wage managerial, professional and technical occupations and in low-wage, in-person service occupations:
So computerization is not reducing the quantity of jobs, but rather degrading the quality of jobs for a significant subset of workers. Demand for highly educated workers who excel in abstract tasks is robust, but the middle of the labor market, where the routine task-intensive jobs lie, is sagging. Workers without college education therefore concentrate in manual task-intensive jobs — like food services, cleaning and security — which are numerous but offer low wages, precarious job security and few prospects for upward mobility. This bifurcation of job opportunities has contributed to the historic rise in income inequality.
But in a report in the 11/29/13 NYT, "Coming Soon, a Night Watchman With Wheels", science writer John Markoff, writes:
A company in California has developed a mobile robot, known as the K5Autonomous Data Machine, as a safety and security tool for corporations, as well as for schools and neighborhoods...The night watchman of the future is 5 feet tall, weighs 300 pounds and looks a lot like R2-D2 – without the whimsy. And will work for $6.25 an hour.
And the addition of such a machine to the labor market could force David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, to rethink his theory about how technology wrecks the middle class.
The minimum wage in the United States is $7.25, and $8 in California. Coming in substantially under those costs, Knightscope’s robot watchman service raises questions about whether artificial intelligence and robotics technologies are beginning to assault both the top and the bottom of the work force as well.
Over all, there are about 1.3 million private security guards in the United States, and they are low paid for the most part, averaging about $23,000 a year, according to the Service Employees International Union. Most are not unionized, so they are vulnerable to low-cost automation alternatives.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm's Marxism: Their Trajectories, Intersections, and Social Relevance