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The Emerging Network Of Networks

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The emerging network of networks

Karl Marx is considered one of the fathers of modern social sciences. You can’t discuss economics, political science, contemporary history, or sociology without seeing the influence of his ideas. Through his primary works, The Manifesto of the Communist Party and Capital, he spelt out a devastating analysis of capitalist economics and class relations that has remained relevant and influential in different ways over the past 150 years. Marx asserts that the course of human history is riddled with epoch's that define our history, constant struggles between classes of people. These struggles always lead to a radical reorganization of society dependent on the conditions of its point in history. In the rapidly globalizing world we’ve seen unprecedented changes in the relationships between states, civil society, and international institutions that will play a major role in shaping the outcomes of globalization. Although Marxist theory is out of fashion today, it’s influence, and analysis have given light to struggles and people around the world seeking a reorganization of society. Through his bristling analysis, Marx’s vision of global revolution has nearly as much insight into contemporary life as it did at the time of its inception.

At the time of Marx's writings, during the upheaval of the industrial revolution, it appeared a simplification of all previous class relations was under way. Advances in technology and the growth of markets and cities were reducing all of society into two camps; the proletariat and the bourgeois . Through a reading of history, it seemed to Marx that groups in society are in a constant state of conflict, be they freeman and slave, lord and surf, or factory workers and capitalists . The growth of industrialization would lead to working people becoming more like ancillary tools that would be further exploited in the service of capital until a proletariat revolution transforms society. Marx wasn't the first philosopher to think about conflict theory as a basis for understanding class relations, but his critique was so devastating to capital that it has withstood the test of time and continues its influence. While the core principles of the analysis remain relevant there have been significant differences between the predictions Marx made about the future and what ended up happening. The straightforward linearism of his ideas about the devaluation of labour in the service of capital failed to foresee the drastic improvement of working conditions that would follow the industrial revolution. Indeed the workers of the industrialized world have chosen instead to elect governments that will raise taxes on the bourgeoisie, or at least cut their taxes rather that revolt

Marx’s writing and theory have influenced popular struggles around the world as well as some of the brightest thinkers and philosophers contemporarily. In two books published over the last 8 years, Empire and Multitude, two of the world leading neo-marxists philosophers Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt have spelt out the kind of world they see evolving and the possibilities for its radical reorganization. Their thesis is that the world market under the influence of the information revolution is globalizing beyond the capacity of nation states to affect it. The sovereignty of nation states is vanishing, and is being replaced by a newly emerging global sovereignty or “Empire” arising from the coalescence of “a series of national and supranational organisms united under a single logic of rule,” with no clear international hierarchy . It has been well accepted for some time that the mobility of capital has reduced the capacity of individual government to control corporations and the power of trans-national institutions like the World Trade Organization (WTO) have reduced the supremacy of state sovereignty, but what is new is the authors belief that it’s this process that will create the opportunity for a new democratic world order. Where Marx saw an ever more revolutionary class of workers created by the alienation from their own labour caused by the social relationship of capital , Hardt and Negri see a Multitude of people around the world being revolutionized by the antagonism that no longer just exists in the factory but everywhere as a result of the theft of the global commons by finance capital . The film the Fourth World War follows a similar school of thought that in this all encompassing world order with no periphery and no core, all conflict in inherently civil war, because there can be nothing outside вЂ?Empire’.

The clearest and most striking example of Marx’s predictions of global revolution lives through the emergence of the global justice movement. Commonly referred to as the anti-globalization movement, they have organized demonstrations around the world at meeting of the international bodies that govern the international economic system. The young activists who make up the core of the movement here in the North have learned from Marxism, accepting in many ways it analysis without accepting its prescription, centrally planning and hierarchical structure. Instead choosing to organize around principles of egalitarianism, autonomy and consensus. In the years since the demonstrations in Seattle against the WTO first put this new movement into the limelight, international demonstrations in Washington, Bangkok, Prague and Quebec City have confronted and sometimes halted meetings of the WTO, IMF, World Bank and other instruments of neo-liberalism. They have reframed the debate on economic globalization, put its advocates on the defensive and forced change in the rhetoric if not the actions of world leaders and global institutions. What is unique is the trans-nationalization of this new movement, as the world has grown smaller through technology these same technologies are facilitating a new kind of postmodern



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