Christoph Henning: Productivity: a Contested Concept in the History of Political Economy and Critical Theory

Christoph Henning: Productivity: a Contested Concept in the History of Political Economy and Critical Theory

“Productivity” has always been an ideological term. Especially in societies that experience economic growth. He (!) who can claim that he is “productive”, and hence responsible for the growth which in the end benefits everybody, can also claim more political power and more influence in the media – not to mention the ever larger share of the social product. But who exactly is productive in that sense? This simple questions can not be answered without a solid economic theory in the background, it is not self-evident. Hence, we see how contested the field of economic theory really is. A closer look at the history of political economy shows that in this question the schools and authors had their largest differences. I would like to demonstrate that by comparing authors like John Locke, Quesnay and Adam Smith, up to Marx and contemporary ones. This “class struggle in economic theory”, as I will call it, may explain why the Frankfurt School, in particular Herbert Marcuse and Erich Fromm, still laid such an emphasis on alternatives understanding of “productivity”. It is a political speech act that tries to limit the hegemonic power of economics as an ideological discipline.

Christoph Henning, a philosopher at the Max Weber Kolleg for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, Germany, wrote an influential book on the history of Marxist thought in Social Theory and Philosophy (Philosophy after Marx). Last year he published a volume on the political philosophy of “Perfectionism”, as well as an introduction to the “Theories of Alienation” from Rousseau to Alain Ehrenberg. He had teaching positions in various universities in Switzerland and Germany.
Produktivnost: Kontroverzen pojem v zgodovini politične ekonomije in kritične teorije

“Produktivnost” je že od nekdaj ideološki izraz. To še posebej velja za družbe z gospodarsko rastjo. Kdor si lasti zasluge za “produktivnost” posledično nosi odgovornost za gospodarsko rast, ki na koncu koristi vsem, s čimer si lahko prilasti tudi več politične moči in medijskega vpliva. Obenem si ta isti prisvaja tudi vse večji del družbenega produkta. Toda kdo je v resnici sploh produktiven na takšen način? Na to preprosto vprašanje ne moremo odgovoriti brez podlage v trdni ekonomski teoriji, saj odgovor ni tako samoumeven, kar tudi kaže na to, kako kontroverzno je v resnici samo polje ekonomske teorije. Tudi bolj natančen pregled zgodovine politične ekonomije nam razkrije, da so bile šole in avtorji prav pri tem vprašanju najbolj razdvojeni. To bi rad pokazal skozi primerjavo avtorjev kot so John Locke, Quesnay in Adam Smith, vse do Marxa in nekaterih sodobnih avtorjev. “Razredni boj v ekonomski teoriji”, kot ga bom imenoval, nam lahko pojasni, zakaj je frankfurtska šola (še posebej Herbert Marcuse in Erich Fromm) še vedno tako močno poudarjala alternativno razumevanje “produktivnosti”. Šlo je za politično retoriko, ki je skušala omejiti hegemonsko moč ekonomije kot ideološke discipline.

Christoph Henning je filozof na Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies v Nemčiji. Napisal je vplivno knjigo o zgodovini marksistične misli v družbeni teoriji in filozofiji (Philosophy after Marx). Lansko leto je izdal deli na temo politične filozofije “Perfekcionizma”, ter uvod v “Teorije odtujitve” od Rousseauja do Alaina Ehrenberga. Predaval je na različnih univerzah v Švici in Nemčiji.

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