Work, Wealth, and War: Recalling Herbert Marcuse’s Critical Pedagogy
By: Charles Reitz + Stephen Spartan March 15, 2012
We submit to the peaceful production of the means of destruction, to the perfection of waste, to being educated for a defense which deforms the defenders and that which they defend. Herbert Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man (1964, ix)
The inner dynamic of capitalism . . . necessitates the revival of the radical rather than the minimal goals of socialism. Herbert Marcuse, Counterrevolution and Revolt (1972, 5)
Capitalism has long been armed with its own theories of work and wealth; labor has not. In order to build an alternate vision for labor, this essay will attempt to re-think a critical philosophical analysis of work, the origins of wealth, and the human condition, including the contemporary propensities toward war. Given recent global economic dislocations, the time is ripe to produce a revitalized theory of society grounded in a critical understanding of human working, wealth-building, activity.