- Paperback: 255 pages
- Publisher: International Publishers; [1st American ed.] edition (1964)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0006BLWD2
- Package Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,771,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Economic and philosophic manuscripts of 1844 [1st American ed.] Edition
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For those interested in a serious study of Marx and Engels, I highly recommend The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 as a starting point. In some respects this is unfair to Marx because it is an incomplete work, one that he never prepared for publication. Many of the essays start in the middle, while others trail off, incomplete. Others are amplifications on a manuscript that is now lost other than these tantalizing amplifications.
Still, Marx provides sufficient "meat" here for the reader to become familiar with Marx's somewhat bombastic style and his curious tendency to speak in terms of inconsistencies, how A also is not-A. This latter tendency is a remnant of having been a follower of Hegel, famous for reconciling opposites, but in one of the stronger essays contained within this text, Marx thoroughly repudiates Hegel.
In any event, the reader can find in these manuscripts many of the ideas on which Marx was to elaborate in his later writings. Das Kapital did not emerge from Marx's head fully formed as Athena did from Zeus. I personally enjoy tracing the trajectory and development of a thinker's thoughts from its earliest stages to its fullest efflorescence. The Political and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 present just such an opportunity.
One of my favorite essays, and perhaps one of the most important one in this text, is "Estranged Labor" in which he teases out the numerous strands of how the modern form of labor alienates the worker from his creation. Some strikingly brilliant insights are to be found here which, unfortunately, Marx did not dwell on in some of his later works, focusing instead on other pernicious aspects of the capitalistic mode of production. What is very clear here, as well as in Marx's other works, is his intent interest in the liberation of humanity which he sees as bound by the constraints of social mechanisms.
In a paper I wrote during one of my forays into academia, comparing Marx with John Stuart Mill, I discussed how in Mill, he promoted personal liberty because of its social benefits. Marx, however, promotes social change in order to bring about personal liberty. It was a daring move on my part because this was precisely the opposite of what the assignment had asked us to do. However, as I read Marx and Mill very closely, I became more and more convinced of my thesis. When the professor returned our papers to us, mine was the last to be returned, which he dropped on my desk, dryly remarking, "Thanks, Mr. Nicholas; now I will never be able to read Marx OR Mill in the same way again!" I was pleased to receive the highest grade in the class, but even more pleased that I had persuaded the professor to see Marx and Mill in a new light.
This volume also includes an essay by Engels: "Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy" which very nicely signals the work he and Marx were to do in the following decades.