Hegel and Marx: The Concept of Need
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This text introduces the concept of need as viewed by Hegel and Marx, and places it within the context of modern need theories and theorists. The book works through key texts, including Hegel's Philosophy of Right and Marx's Capital, and discusses the theory in relation to Soviet Communism and social democracy. * Covers key texts by Hegel and Marx studied by undergraduates on political theory courses * Looks at political implications for modern need theory * Accessible: author makes good use of textual evidence * Need theory is a major element of modern social theory.
68. S. Lukes, Moral Conflict and Politics (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1991), p. 185. 69. J. Holloway, 'Global Capital and the National State', Capital and Class, 52, 1994, pp. 26–9. 70. Lukes, Moral Conflict and Politics, pp. 184–5. 71. See M. Hardt and A. Negri, Labour of Dionysus: A Critique of the StateForm (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, 1994), particularly Ch. 6. 72. Doyal and Gough, Theory of Human Need, p. 308.
such needs could apply to all cultures. Now Doyal seems to be saying needs and wants can overlap, which weakens the very universality of their original theory. It seems that their preoccupation with universal needs leads them to neglect the relationship between such needs and wants — a onesidedness which Doyal does admit to.63 So while they do attempt to overcome relativism, it may be at the cost of undertheorising the relationship between needs and wants. This will be of importance
distinct or separate, but as 'simply one and the same concept'.37 The universal concept, for instance, is not the same as the 'abstract generality' used by the understanding. The latter wrongly sees the universal concept as simply those features that are common to specific phenomena, whilst the 'particular . . . enjoys an existence of its own'.38 The understanding abstracts from the particular, holding it distinct and separate. The universal concept, however, contains the Page 27
Marx first talks of a 'luxury need' (Luxusbedürfnis) in his critique of Proudhon in the Poverty of Philosophy. 68 In this work, he contrasts 'luxury needs' with 'necessary needs'. The latter are the need for 'indispensable objects' of 'prime necessity . . . like corn, meat, etc', while the former are the need for 'luxury articles, like
95. Lebowitz, Beyond Capital, p. 28. 96. Lebowitz, Beyond Capital, p. 97. 97. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 245; Lebowitz, Beyond Capital, p. 28. 98. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 242. 99. Marx, Grundrisse, pp. 242–5. 100. Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, p. 277. 101. Marx, Grundrisse, p. 101. Page 143 7 Marx and Higher Needs With the circuit of needs clearly elucidated, and the importance of the needform readily evident, this chapter considers Marx's use of need concepts that relate to what