A Marxist Critique of Marx's Theory of History: Beyond the Dichotomy Between Scientific and Critical Marxism



This article argues that an application of Marxism to itself can help us transcend Gouldner's (1980) dichotomy between scientific and critical Marxism. After demonstrating that the paradigmatic document of scientific marxism, Marx's Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, turns the structural logic of capitalist economy into the basis for a transhistorical theory of social-economic development, this article explores the limitations of critical Marxism's response to scientific Marxism and concludes that a viable, not class-centered, reformulation of the emancipatory project is possible through an analysis of capitalism's “dialectic of scarcity.” The task of the emancipatory project, it is argued, is to turn humanity, and not the working class, from a political subject in itself to a political subject in and for itself.