11:52 AMModern Productive Forces
Continued from here
Productive forces can be defined as objective and subjective elements, which are combined in the process of production, for the purpose of maintaining, developing, and reproducing life.
Definite stages in development of productive forces roughly correspond to definite levels of organization of society. Thus, as Marx noticed, a steam locomotive gives us a capitalist society.
What are the modern productive forces? A unifying category for these is “knowledge”. In other words, all modern productive forces are a manifestation of knowledge, in one form or another.
This warrants some explanation…
When I ask some person who knows the “inside” politics of the former Soviet Union, “why was there war in Chechnya”, he will reply “control of the oil”. This answer is correct, but in a limited sense. My question really was: why do we have wars such as war in Chechnya, war in Ukraine, in Moldavia, etc. In other words, the meaning of my question is more general. Hence, the answer should be: control of material resources. The ruling clans cannot divide up peacefully bits and pieces of the material wealth of the Soviet Union. Hence, the wars… Similarly in Yugoslavia.
The same logic applies to Marx’s thesis that proletariat is a “revolutionary class”. For 1848, in Paris, this was true. This was true even earlier, when August Blanqui identified himself as “proletarian”, fighting on the barricades in Paris in 1830’s. However, this was true only for a limited time period. Already, in the Paris Commune of 1871, we notice that majority of the members of the Commune were not proletarians, but belonged to such professions as doctors, lawyers, officers, engineers, etc., those who were known as “intelligentsia” in Russia. For example, in this essay we read:
According to Freedland and Slutsky ("History of Revolutionary Movements in Western Europe, 1789-1914", Moscow - Leningrad, 1926), the social composition of the Commune was as follows:
In other words, social composition of the leading class, the vanguard, changes together with changes in the productive forces. Paris before 1848 was a city on the threshold of Industrial revolution. This has just barely started, in the times of Napoleon I. However, in the times of Napoleon III, the society has already undertaken a serious start on the course of the Industrial revolution. In the essay already referred to:
For France, we have the following dynamic of these principal indicators:
The principal driving power of the Industrial Revolution in XIX century is the steam. For France, we have the following dynamic:
The dynamic of trade, for France, is represented by the following figures:
The revolutionary class changed together with development of the productive forces.
What Marx should have said – and what we should say, having observed the development hence – is that the leading class of each epoch is the class which embodies the leading sectors of knowledge for its times.
For example, in the times of Spinoza (picture on the right), the microscopes and telescopes have just started to appear. Hence, such a rebellious mind as Spinoza made his living grinding lenses for these tools.
An equivalent today would be 3D printers. The leading minds of the present epoch are occupied with this technology. This technology is a pre-cursor to nanotechnology, for the idea of 3D printing originates from the idea of atomic and molecular assembly, or synthesis.
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