Top Menu

The Necessity of Social Control


As John Bellamy Foster writes in his foreword to the present book, “István Mészáros is one of the greatest philosophers that the historical materialist tradition has yet produced. His work stands practically alone today in the depth of its analysis of Marx’s theory of alienation, the structural crisis of capital, the demise of Soviet-style post-revolutionary societies, and the necessary conditions of the transition to socialism. His dialectical inquiry into social structure and forms of consciousness—a systematic critique of the prevailing forms of thought—is unequaled in our time.”

Mészáros is the author of magisterial works like Beyond Capital and Social Structures of Forms of Consciousness, but his work can seem daunting to those unacquainted with his thought. Here, for the first time, is a concise and accessible overview of Mészáros’s ideas, designed by the author himself and covering the broad scope of his work, from the shortcomings of bourgeois economics to the degeneration of the capital system to the transition to socialism.

For me, István Mészáros is one of the few people who has made essential contributions to the body of Marxist thought. Like Marx, he is not easy to read, but he is definitely worth the effort.

—Michael A. Lebowitz, author, The Contradictions of “Real Socialism” and The Socialist Alternative

No living Marxist philosopher has done more to clarify and to show the continuing relevance of Marx’s most important theories than István Mészáros.

—Bertell Ollman, department of politics, New York University; author of Dance of the Dialectic: Steps in Marx’s Method and other works

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by John Bellamy Foster
  1. The Necessity of Social Control
    1. The Counter-Factual Conditionals of Apologetic Ideology
    2. Capitalism and Ecological Destruction
    3. The Crisis of Domination
    4. From “Repressive Tolerance” to the Liberal Advocacy of Repression
    5. War if the Normal Methods of Expansion Fail
    6. The Emergence of Chronic Unemployment
    7. The Intensification of the Rate of Exploitation
    8. Capital’s “Correctives” and Socialist Control
  2. Marxism Today
    1. Sartre’s Alternative
    2. Marxism Today
    3. Mickey Mouse Socialism
    4. The Problem of Organization
  3. Causality, Time and Forms of Mediation
    1. Causality and Time under Capital’s Causa Sui
    2. The Vicious Circle of Capital’s Second Order Mediations
  4. The Activation of Capital’s Absolute Limits
  5. The Meaning of Black Mondays (and Wednesdays)
  6. The Potentially Deadliest Phase of Imperialism
  7. The Challenge of Sustainable Development and the Culture of Substantive Equality
    1. Farewell to “Liberty—Fraternity—Equality”
    2. The Failure of “Modernization and Development”
    3. Structural Domination and the Culture of Substantive Inequality
  8. Another World is Possible and Necessary
    1. The Myth of Ideological Neutrality and the Imposition of the Single-Ideology State
    2. The Emergence of Neoliberal Consensus
    3. Capital’s Structural Crisis and the Implosion of the Soviet System
    4. The Persistent Neglect of the National Question
    5. Crisis in the Western Socialist Movement
    6. Patriotism and Internationalism
    7. The Immediate and the Long-Term: Continuity and Change in Socialist Strategy
    8. The Need to Redress Structural Inequality
    9. The Necessary Global Alternative
    10. The Social Subject of Emancipation and the Power of Emancipatory Ideology
  9. Alternative to Parliamentarism
  10. Reflections on the New International
  11. Structural Crisis Needs Structural Change
  12. The Mountain We Must Conquer: Reflections on the State
    1. Introduction
    2. The End of Liberal–Democratic Politics
    3. The “Withering Away” of the State?
    4. The Wishful Limitations of State Power
    5. The Assertion of Might-as-Right
    6. Eternalizing Assumptions of Liberal State Theory
    7. Hegel’s Unintended Swan-Song and the Nation State
    8. Capital’s Social Metabolic Order and the Failing State
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Index

István Mészáros is a world-renowned philosopher and critic. He left his native Hungary after the Soviet invasion of 1956. He is professor emeritus at the University of Sussex, where he held the chair of philosophy for fifteen years. Among his many books are Social Structure and Forms of Consciousness Volumes I and II, The Work of Sartre, The Structural Crisis of Capital, The Challenge and Burden of Historical Time, Beyond Capital: Toward a Theory of Transition, and Marx’s Theory of Alienation.

SKU: mrp5380 Categories: , , , Tags: ,
Topics: Marxism Philosophy Places: Global

Publication Date: January 2014

Number of Pages: 328

Paperback ISBN: 9781583675380

Cloth ISBN: 9781583675397

eBook ISBN: 9781583675403