By Derek Sayer
The character of modernity, and its reference to capitalism, are questions on the leading edge of up to date sociological debate. Derek Sayer re-examines the solutions given by means of Karl Marx and Max Weber, authors of 2 of the main profound sociological evaluations of modernity. His reassessment of Marx and Weber on capitalism and modernity offers a brand new analyzing which finds the outstanding consonances among their sociologies of the fashionable situation. Going past the well known stereotypes of the Marx-Weber debate', Professor Sayer indicates that either Marx and Weber produced a demanding critique of the character of energy and subjectivity in sleek society, a critique which keeps all its highbrow strength and ethical relevance at the present time.
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Extra resources for Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber
Only the ‘severance of the conditions of production, on the one hand, from the producers, on the other’ (1865a:246) allowed the ‘dwarfishness’ inherent in individualized (or to be more accurate, in familial) production—the peasant farm, the artisanal workshop—to be overcome. Capitalism is in this sense logically, as well as historically, antecedent to the industrialism it has spawned. The developed form co-operation takes in Manufacture is the ‘detailed’ division of labour in the workshop, of the sort that so impressed Adam Smith observing the manufacture of pins.
This affinity should not surprise us, in so far as for Simmel it is ‘the money economy [which] dominates the metropolis’, and Marx’s starting-point for his own analysis of modern subjectivity is precisely the exchange of commodities and the domination of the money form through which this is effected. The metropolis is for Simmel a thoroughly novel social space, combining unprecedented proximity (as in the crowd) and privatization (as in the naming of streets and the later numbering of each house within them).
Cooperation’, Marx says, ‘ever constitutes the fundamental form of the capitalist mode of production’ (1867a:335), and it remains the social basis for Modern Industry. Other than on the foundation of ‘combined labour’, any large-scale application of science and technology within the production process would be inconceivable: ‘it is only socialized labour that is capable of applying the general products of human development, such as mathematics, to the immediate process of production’ (1866:1024).
Capitalism and Modernity: An Excursus on Marx and Weber by Derek Sayer