America, beginning as a small group of devout Puritan settlers, ultimately became the richest, most powerful Empire in the history of the world, but having reached that point, is now in a process of implosion and decay. This book, inspired by Frankfurt School Critical Theory, especially Erich Fromm, offers a unique historical, cultural and characterological analysis of American national character and its underlying psychodynamics. Specifically, this analysis looks at the persistence of Puritan religion, as well as the extolling of male toughness and America's unbridled pursuit of wealth. Finally, its self image of divinely blessed exceptionalism has fostered vast costs in lives and wealth. But these qualities of its national character are now fostering both a decline of its power and a transformation of its underlying social character. This suggests that the result will be a changing social character that enables a more democratic, tolerant and inclusive society, one that will enable socialism, genuine, participatory democracy and a humanist framework of meaning. This book is relevant to understanding America’s past, present and future.
Essays on Marx and Social Form
The Mismeasure of Wealth: Essays on Marx and Social Form gathers Patrick Murray’s essays reinterpreting Marx and Marxian theory published since his Marx’s Theory of Scientific Knowledge (1988), along with a previously unpublished essay and an introduction. Murray’s essays concentrate on Marx the historical materialist, the investigator of historically specific social forms of wealth and labour. There is no production in general; the production of wealth always involves specific social forms and purposes that matter in many ways. Marx’s attention to the dynamics and far-reaching consequences of historically specific social forms – in particular those that are constitutive of the capitalist mode of production – sets him off from classical political economy and traditional Marxism. In probing Marx’s dialectical accounts of the commodity, value, money, surplus value, wage labour and capital, The Mismeasure of Wealth establishes Marx’s singular relevance for critical social theory today.
The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse
Javier Sethness Castro
In Eros and Revolution, Javier Sethness Castro presents a comprehensive intellectual and political biography of the world-renowned critical theorist Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979). Investigating the origins and development of Marcuse's dialectical approach vis-à-vis Hegel, Marx, Fourier, Heidegger, and Freud as well as the central figures of the Frankfurt School—Horkheimer, Adorno, Neumann, Fromm, and Benjamin—Sethness Castro chronicles the radical philosopher's lifelong activism in favor of anti-capitalism, anti-fascism, and anti-authoritarianism together with Marcuse's defiant revindication of global libertarian-socialist revolution as the precondition for the realization of reason, freedom, and human happiness. Beyond examining Marcuse's revolutionary life and contributions, moreover, the author contemplates the philosopher's relevance to contemporary struggle, especially with regard to ecology, feminism, anarchism, and the general cause of worldwide social transformation.