DOI link for Economic Historicism
Economic Historicism book
To see Marx presented in this way, that is to say, as an opponent of any psychological theory of society, may possibly surprise some Marxists as well as some Anti-Marxists. For there seem to be many who believe in a very different story. Marx, they think, taught the all-pervading influence of the economic motive in the life of men; he succeeded in explaining its over-powering strength by showing that ‘man’s overmastering need was to get the means of living’ 1 ; he thus demonstrated the fundamental importance of such categories as the profit motive or the motive of class interest for the actions not only of individuals but also of social groups; and he showed how to use these categories for explaining the course of history. Indeed, they think that the very essence of Marxism is the doctrine that economic motives and especially class interest are the driving forces of history, and that it is precisely this doctrine to which the name ‘materialistic interpretation of history’ or ‘historical materialism’ alludes, a name by which Marx and Engels tried to characterize the essence of their teaching.