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Marx and Justice

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Marx's thought about justice is essentialist and dialectical. It has been interpreted in terms of immoralism. It is rather a synthesis of the traditional natural law, based on the Aristotelian concept of nature as the potential for perfection or ideal fulfilment, radically different from the Hobbesian reductionist concept of nature as atomistic and mechanical; of the tradition of dialectics in its German idealist form; and of Feuerbach's humanism. Marx's explicitly realist idea of science reveals 'veiled wage-slavery'. Concentration on the market exchange, to the exclusion of the subsequent exploitative use of labour power, deceives exclusively analytic observers into the belief that there is some justice in capitalism. Marx characterized the proletariat as the 'universal class', capable of bringing about the fulfilment of the human essence in a family-style mode of production, because it is the victim of total injustice. However, he criticized workers for not rising above such bourgeois selfishness as demanding 'a fair wage', which is not even a coherent concept. Capitalism is not only a moral injustice, but an ontological injustice, a violation of the worker's humanity. It is coercion into alienation, fetishism and idolatry.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2000

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