chapter  X
Morality as Ideology
Pages 16

Given Marx’s concept of justice, it is obvious that for him the question whether capitalist exploitation should be abolished or not does not turn on whether it is just or unjust. Instead, it turns on whether capitalist social relations correspond to the existing stage of society’s productive powers and whether they are condu­ cive to the further development of these powers. If (as Marx believes) capitalism is fast becoming obsolete, and has already become a fetter on human development, then the more swiftly and painlessly capitalism is done away with, the better it will be for humanity. The laws and moral precepts which arise out of the existing order, however, are charged with the function of protec­ ting that order; they will probably forbid some of the steps necessary to overthrow it. Once we recognize that moral defenses of capitalism have this material basis, these defenses will no longer have the power to mystify us. We will be like those proletarians to whom, according to Marx, ‘laws, morality, religion are only so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which hide just as many bourgeois interests.’1