Marx 2000 - Robert Kurz

Article by Robert Kurz, from 1st Feb 1999, also published as a Krisis pamphlet.

Unconscious objectivity - aspects of a critique of the mathematical natural sciences (excerpts) - Claus Peter Ortlieb

A mathematician takes a sceptical look at the mathematical basis of modern natural science both from an immanent perspective—with regard to its epistemological contradictions (e.g., the divergence of the experimental method from the requirements of a strict empiricism)—as well as from a historical perspective that situates its rise and development in the context of the emergence of capitalist society in Western Europe, and proposes that it, too, like Ptolemaic astronomy, is a transient phenomenon that might be succeeded by another “Copernican revolution in thought”, one in accordance with a different kind of socio-economic system.

The ignorance of the society of knowledge - Robert Kurz

A short 2002 article by Robert Kurz on the hype about the information society, with its “knowledge degraded into ‘information’”, its dystopian implications with regard to culture and individual integrity, and its disappointingly meager impact on the economy (Marx: knowledge has “no exchange value”), which it was supposed to rejuvenate (“the New Economy … began to collapse as soon as it was proclaimed”).

Anti-economics and anti-politics: on the reformulation of social emancipation after the end of "marxism" - Robert Kurz

In this 1997 essay, Robert Kurz discusses the question of the “embryonic form” of “the productive forces developing in the womb of bourgeois society” (Marx); rejecting both the “all-or-nothing” view of the extreme left that sees such a project as doomed to integration into capitalism, and the reformist concept of “dual economy” where cooperative businesses produce for the capitalist market, he advocates a process of “disconnection” from the value matrix that incorporates aspects of both the old cooperative movement and modern “microelectronic” technology while preserving a commitment to overcoming the system of commodity production and a refusal to produce for the market.

The apotheosis of money: the structural limits of capital valorization, casino capitalism and the global financial crisis - Robert Kurz

In this 1995 essay, Robert Kurz examines “fictitious capital”, “unproductive labor”, the “tertiary sector”, “State debt”, “speculative bubbles”, “derivatives”, and “globalization” in the context of the wave of bankruptcies, crashes and bailouts of the 80s and 90s; discusses Rosa Luxemburg’s crisis theory, Keynesianism, Aglietta’s “regulation theory”, and the “neo-liberal” offensive; and predicts a “devaluation shock” that will invalidate the bloated property claims of fictitious capital in a “monetary atomic explosion” heralding “the end of the history of the mode of production based on money”.

The end of politics: theses on the crisis of the regulatory system of the commodity form - Robert Kurz

In this essay first published in 1994, Robert Kurz examines the history of “politics” as the “regulatory system” of “the modern commodity production system”, from the inception of capitalism to its high point immediately after WW2—when “the last residues … of the pre-modern constitution” were eliminated and when “politics” was finally totally absorbed by “economics”—and its current crisis, heralding “the historical collapse of the system”, manifested as “the environmental crisis, the crisis of the society of labor, the crisis of the nation-state and the crisis of gender relations” in an era when democracy “is nothing but the completed subjection to the subjectless logic of money”.

The lost honor of labor - Robert Kurz

In this provocative and wide-ranging 1991 essay, Robert Kurz marshals Marx’s critique of the basic categories of capitalism and argues for “liberation from labor”, meaning the “‘abstract labor’ embodied in the form of value” that functions “tautologically” as a “self-referential” “end-in-itself” with destructive results for humanity (not to be confused with “human reproductive activity or with the process of metabolism with nature”); rejecting both technical regression (the “poverty of needs”) and obsolete reformism (the “Marxism of the workers movement”) he advocates “the planning and direction of the material nexus of reproduction in a directly social manner”.

The destructive origins of capitalism - Robert Kurz

Brief essay on the role played by the "military revolution" in 16th century Europe in the genesis of capitalism and, among other things, the historical status of the soldiers of the new standing armies of the emerging nation-states as the "first modern wage workers" and the condottieri as the "prototypes of the modern businessman".