For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Freedom and Necessity in Marx's Account of Communism"

by Kandiyali, Jan (2014)


This paper considers whether Marx's views about communism change significantly during his lifetime. According to the ?standard story?, as Marx got older he dropped the vision of self-realization in labour that he spoke of in his early writings, and adopted a more pessimistic account of labour, where real freedom is achieved outside the working-day, in leisure. Other commentators, however, have argued that there is no pessimistic shift in Marx's thought on this matter. This paper offers a different reading of this debate. It argues that there are two visions of the good life in Marx. However, it suggests that these two visions cannot be understood in terms of a simple shift between a ?young? and ?mature? Marx. Rather, it claims that Marx moves between these two visions throughout his writings. In this way, it suggests that Marx's intellectual development on this issue is best understood as an oscillation rather than a shift. Once this interpretive claim is advanced, the paper then moves on to consider some potential causes and implications of Marx's life-long oscillation between two different conceptions of the good life.


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On Marx on Realm of Necessity, Marx on Realm of Necessity, Goods of Work

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