A Promethean Vision – The Formation of Marx’s Worldview
Reviewed by noted Marxist economist Michael Roberts
Eric Rahim has written a clear and cohesive account of how Karl Marx formed his unique materialist conception of history. At Marx’s funeral in 1883, his long-time friend and close collaborator, Friedrich Engels commented that Marx had developed two ground-breaking discoveries that were the basis of ‘scientific socialism’: the materialist conception of history and the law of surplus value. These two discoveries provide the searchlights for understanding the development of human society and social organisation in the 21st century.
Rahim takes us carefully and historically on the journey that led Marx to conceive of the first of these. Starting with Hegel as the teacher of the contradictions of history between state and individual; between the relative and eternal; between free will and determination, Marx turned Hegel upside down to reject Hegel’s idealism that all is the product of the contradictions of thought and mean’s ideas and instead offer a Promethean vision of history, namely that material conditions shape history and that man shapes those material conditions.