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Marx's InfernoThe Political Theory of Capital$
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William Clare Roberts

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691180816

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691180816.001.0001

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Conclusion: Purgatory, or the Social Republic

Conclusion: Purgatory, or the Social Republic

(p.228) Chapter 7 Conclusion: Purgatory, or the Social Republic
Marx's Inferno

William Clare Roberts

Princeton University Press

This chapter concludes the book's argument by summarizing the themes from the earlier chapters into an account of the positive political theory of Capital and shows how Karl Marx appropriates Dante's Inferno via the social Hell trope. It challenges G. A. Cohen's suggestion that Marx subscribed to an obstetric doctrine regarding politics, noting that the terms in which Marx criticizes capitalism highlight the principles according to which communist institutions would have to be constructed and judged. Although Marx is often seen as a proponent of collective self-mastery or autonomy, his diagnoses of capitalism's evils consistently point out forms of domination rather than heteronomy. The chapter emphasizes the connection between socialism and Marx's midwifery and contends that Marx's republicanism found support in Robert Owen's appeals for cooperative communities regulating all production. The chapter thus argues that Marx should be appreciated both as a radical republican and an Owenite communist.

Keywords:   political theory, Capital, Karl Marx, social Hell, G. A. Cohen, capitalism, domination, socialism, Robert Owen, republicanism

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