chapter  3
19 Pages

Toward an Alternative Understanding of the American System

InChapter2,IsketchedthemajorAmericanschoolsofthoughtabout thenatureandpurposesofgovernment.Inthischapter,Iconsideran alternativetheoreticalframeworkthatIbelievepermitsafarmore comprehensiveunderstandingofthenatureandevolutionofgovernmentactivities,commitments,andresponsibilitiesintheUnitedStates. TheframeworkIwillpresenthereisdecidedlyunfamiliartomost Americans,yetitplaysanimportantroleinthesocialsciencesinall otherpartsoftheworld-intheEastandintheWest,inthedeveloped countriesoftheNorthandintheless-developedSouth.Iamreferring tothatbodyofpropositions,outlooks,andmethodologiesderivedfrom theMarxisttheoreticaltradition.IdonotmeanMarxismunderstoodas the"statereligion"oftheSovietUnionandotherSoviet-blocnations; Irefer,rather,toaparticularmethodofanalysisofsocial,economic, andpoliticalsystems.WhiletheAmericanreadermayfeeluncomfortableabouttheapplicationofthisapproachtotheunderstandingofour society,Ihopetodemonstratehowitsanalyticalmethodoffersamuch morepowerfultoolforexplainingourcurrentpoliticalandeconomic situationthandothemorefamiliarperspectives.Inmyview,freemarketconservatism,neo-conservatism,andreformliberalismall tradeinoversimplificationsandattempttotranslatepopularcomplaints intocoherenttheoreticalarguments.