Analysis Of The Different Phases Of Capitalism

1686 words - 7 pages

Are We There Yet?An Exploration Into the Stages of CapitalismSociety can be categorized by certain stages in history. Karl Marx?s theory of historical materialism mapped out the evolution of society through five distinct epochs: 1. Hunter-gatherer 2. Tribal 3. Feudal 4. Capitalism and 5. Communism. But are these epochs true to societal evolution? What of the transition between epochs? The questioning of Marx?s theory of historical materialism is central to contemporary theorists. And further debates emerge as to exactly which of the ?new? phases society may currently be in. The Frankfurt School was the first to revise the earlier Marxist theory by claiming that society had entered a second ...view middle of the document...

Formally, the acceptance of postmodernism as a legitimate theory is traced to the 1980?s. The writings of Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault, Jean-Francois Lyotard, and Fredric Jameson became legitimate foundations for this theory.It is Fredric Jameson?s writings which will be the focal point in the analysis of the proposed postmodern society. Jameson, a former Marxist scholar, not surprisingly relies heavily on the thoughts of the German Trotskyite Ernest Mandel in order to establish his view of this third phase of capitalism which is a ?whole new economic world system? (Jameson 1991:6 ). The theories of Ernest Mandel revolve around globalization and the dominance of the multinational corporation. It is his principle work entitled, ?Late Capitalism?, which lays the groundwork for the Jameson?s notions that ?this whole global, yet American, postmodern culture is the internal and superstructural expression of a Store new- wave of American military and economic domination throughout the world: in this sense, as throughout class history, the underside of culture is blood, torture, death, and terror.? (Jameson 1991: 5) This unprecedented influence of business though multinational corporations has produced a sense of homogeny in society. We all fall under the thumb of CEO?s and their advertisements. Therefore, As the corporations get bigger, the world becomes smaller.A central argument for proving the existence of postmodern capitalism is that it carries many other titles, thus giving us a better understanding to its comprehensive nature. Who can argue that we do not live in a ? [ ? ] consumer society, media society, information society, electronic society or high tech, and the like.? (Jameson 1991: 3)? The inclusive nature of this type of capitalism yields many more effects than merely our economic activity. This inclusivity is clearly apparent in Jameson?s writings. In his renowned work, ?Postmodernism?, he defines postmodernism through ?The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism?. It is here where he proves the postmodern condition through comparison between different forms of art. Pieces of postmodern art can ?[ ?] no longer scandalise anyone and are not only received with the greatest complacency but have themselves become institutionalized? (Jameson 1991: 4). Therefore our culture has become ?pastiche? as defined by Jameson, or ?simulacra? as defined by Baudrillard. The post-industrial world has succeeded in producing art as it would any other consumer good.Since there is now an understanding of what is postmodern capitalism, we can discover what it stems from, what the Frankfurt School denotes as advanced industrial capitalism. As stated earlier, the goal of this writing is to determine is there is a qualitative difference between the second and third phase of capitalism. Therefore, the explanation of this second phase will be strictly relevant to the previous discussion of postmodern capitalism.Just as postmodernism bases its economic model on the...

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