Marx has good anthropology. Russell and the logical positivists , et al
suffer from the Robinsonade ( after Robinson Crusoe as an isolated
individual "starting" an economy)fallacy.


Karl Marx's Outline of the Critique of Political Economy (Grundrisse)

1. Production, Consumption, Distribution, Exchange (Circulation)


Independent Individuals. Eighteenth-century Ideas.

The object before us, to begin with, material production.

Individuals producing in Society-hence socially determined individual
production-is, of course, the point of departure. The individual and
isolated hunter and fisherman, with whom Smith and Ricardo begin, belongs
among the unimaginative conceits of the eighteenth-century Robinsonades, [1]
which in no way express merely a reaction against over-sophistication and a
return to a misunderstood natural life, as cultural historians imagine. As
little as Rousseau's contrat social, which brings naturally independent,
autonomous subjects into relation and connection by contract, rests on such
naturalism. This is the semblance, the merely aesthetic semblance, of the
Robinsonades, great and small. It is, rather, the anticipation of 'civil
society', in preparation since the sixteenth century and making giant
strides towards maturity in the eighteenth. In this society of free
competition, the individual appears detached from the natural bonds etc.
which in earlier historical periods make him the accessory of a definite and
limited human conglomerate. Smith and Ricardo still stand with both feet on
the shoulders of the eighteenth-century prophets, in whose imaginations this
eighteenth-century individual-the product on one side of the dissolution of
the feudal forms of society, on the other side of the new forces of
production developed since the sixteenth century-appears as an ideal, whose
existence they project into the past. Not as a historic result but as
history's point of departure. As the Natural Individual appropriate to their
notion of human nature, not arising historically, but posited by nature.
This illusion has been common to each new epoch to this day. Steuart [2]
avoided this simple-mindedness because as an aristocrat and in antithesis to
the eighteenth century, he had in some respects a more historical footing.

The more deeply we go back into history, the more does the individual, and
hence also the producing individual, appear as dependent, as belonging to a
greater whole: in a still quite natural way in the family and in the family
expanded into the clan [Stamm]; then later in the various forms of communal
society arising out of the antitheses and fusions of the clan. Only in the
eighteenth century, in 'civil society', do the various forms of social
connectedness confront the individual as a mere means towards his private
purposes, as external necessity. But the epoch which produces this
standpoint, that of the isolated individual, is also precisely that of the
hitherto most developed social (from this standpoint, general) relations.
The human being is in the most literal sense a Zwon politikon[3]
not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself
only in the midst of society. Production by an isolated individual outside
society-a rare exception which may well occur when a civilized person in
whom the social forces are already dynamically present is cast by accident
into the wilderness-is as much of an absurdity as is the development of
language without individuals living together and talking to each other.
There is no point in dwelling on this any longer. The point could go
entirely unmentioned if this twaddle, which had sense and reason for the
eighteenth-century characters, had not been earnestly pulled back into the
centre of the most modern economics by Bastiat, [4]
Carey, [5]
Proudhon etc. Of course it is a convenience for Proudhon et al. to be able
to give a historico-philosophic account of the source of an economic
relation, of whose historic origins he is ignorant, by inventing the myth
that Adam or Prometheus stumbled on the idea ready-made, and then it was
adopted, etc. Nothing is more dry and boring than the fantasies of a locus

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