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A New Manifesto of Marxist
Ethics and Economics
Peter Wilberg

1. From Equality to Quality of Life
2. Moral Education or Quality of Life
3. Principals and Practice of Socialist Political Education
DEEP SOCIALISM is a Marxist Manifesto for the 21st Century - a radical critique, not only of the capitalist market economy but of the cynical and ethically corrupting culture of capitalist consumer marketing.

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SYNOPSIS    | review | contents | preface |

Why Marx was right - and why the generation of economic values in a market economy goes hand in hand with the degeneration of ethical values. Deep Socialism shows how the generation of economic values under capitalism goes hand in hand with the degeneration of qualitative ethical values. Far from valuing the individual qualities of its employees, the modern corporation treats these solely as means to an end - profit - and thus fundamentally devalues them. By cleverly marketing its products as material symbols of those spiritual qualities, the employee is is doubly exploited - both as producer and as consumer.

A society in which "essential truth" can be the marketing slogan of a shampoo and "real feeling" is identified with "real chocolate" is a society in deep ethical crisis, substituting hollow  symbolic  "brand values"  for   deep

human values. A society in which marketers honestly believe that brands have "souls" has already sold its soul -  and wants nothing more than to trade yours for its commodities.The contradictions of the market economy exposed by Marx have now been shored up by a culture of marketing in which all deep human values themselves have been turned into commodities. "Deep Socialism" is a Marxist manifesto for the 21st century - a radical critique, not only of the capitalist market economy but of the cynical and ethically corrupting culture of capitalist consumer marketing. It extends Marx's profound analysis of economic value to ethical values, showing how the modern corporation, far from "valuing" people, actually devalues the real individual qualities of its employees - whilst at the same time relying on them as a source of surplus value and profit.

REVIEW   | synopsis | contents | preface |

The subtitle of DEEP SOCIALISM, "A New Manifesto of Marxist Ethics and Economics", could be seen as presumptuous - if it didn't describe the simple truth. Author Peter Wilberg has an impressive talent for communicating extensive increments of potentially complex information in a non-intimidating format that is both motivating and readily accessible to the general reader. Although building upon a traditional Marxist structure, he not only explains that structure to non-students of Marxism, but also expands & revitalizes that structure to make it relevant to the current era. The author's analysis & renovation in this regard recommend his work as must-read material to all committed Marxists as well. Wilberg demonstrated this literary ability in FROM NEW AGE TO NEW GNOSIS, and proves it again with DEEP SOCIALISM.


FULL CONTENTS   | synopsis | review | preface |

Part 1
From Equality to Quality of Life

A New Communist Manifesto?
Economic and Ethical Value Exploitation
From Equality of Labour to Quality of Work
Quality, Time and Value
Negative Quality, Time and Value
Health and the Exploitation of Negative Value
Negative Value and Deep Costs
Work, Jobs and Deep Employment
Educational Value Exploitation
Marx for Managers
The Symbolic Democracy of Capitalism
Currencies, Languages and the National "Ethos"

Part 2
Moral Education or Relational Learning?

Individuality and the Market in Values
The Dialectical Principle of Simference
The Fetishism of Moral Phraseology
Values, Genes and Multiculturalism
Dialogical Listening and "Communication"
Psychoanalysis and the Myth of the Talking Cure
Moral Education vs. Relational Learning

Part 3
Principles and Praxis of Socialist Political Education

Relational Learning and Dialogical Ethics
   Deep Listening
   Deep Speaking
Socialist Political Education and Organisation
Deep Socialism: A Manifesto of Aims
Postscript: Capitalism, Counselling and Class
The Matrix of Value Fulfilment
The Dialectics of Value(s) - a concise summary
Appendix: Deep Management?


PREFACE   | synopsis | review | contents |

Deep Socialism is a Marxian socialist manifesto for the twenty-first century. It is based on a new dialectical theory of value, one which not only reaffirms and reapplies the analysis of economic value presented in Das Kapital, but complements and integrates it with an analysis of ethical, ecological and educational value exploitation in capitalist society. Deep Socialism is radical socialism, not only because it digs down to the hidden roots of the market economic system, but because it exposes the false conflict between economism and moralism, the ideology of "shareholder value" promoted by investment fund managers and the clerical advocacy of traditional "shared values".

The dialectical theory of value articulated in this manifesto is the product of over thirty years' reflection on issues of socialist ethics and economics, which began when I first read  the  Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels.   This

was before the onslaught of Thatcherism  and  Reaganism,  before  the  demise  of  the  Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Today, as right wing commentators bask in the "defeat" of socialism and reaffirm the original principles of unfettered market economics, it is high time that socialists once again challenge these principles, not only ethically but economically. Yet to talk about socialist ethics "and" economics misses the point. The "labour theory of value" developed by Marx in Das Kapital, his analysis of how "surplus value" is extracted from labour in the form of profit and rent, was intrinsically interwoven with a fundamental socialist ethic. This ethic was based on the understanding that each person's labour has the same worth as every other's, and went together with the vision of a communist society in which work, instead of being a means to an end, would be an intrinsic source of deep value fulfilment. The fact that the same term - "value" - can be used to refer to the "use value" of things, to the economic value of commodities and of labour as a commodity, and to personal and social "values" is not a linguistic accident but an expression of a profound inner relation between ethics and economics that not even Marx explored in all its depths and ramifications. Dialectical value theory reaffirms and redevelops Marx's theory of value so as to bring out more clearly the dialectical relation between ethical and economic value(s), and in this way to shed new light on the most important ethical and economic issues of our day. It takes basic economic key words such as "value", "cost", "time", "employment" and "profit" and explores their deep social and ethical dimensions as well as their surface economic ones. Its aim is to expose the fundamental misunderstanding of the relation between economic and ethical value(s) that lies at the heart of capitalist ideology. The misguided "ethics" of the church and its efforts to promote "moral education", and the misguided economics of left-liberal advocates of the "social market" are both an expression of this ideology. And yet the fundamental mis-relation of ethical and economic concepts in capitalist thinking expresses a fundamental mis-relation of ethics and economics in capitalist society. It is not just a theoretical mis-relation but a real one affecting millions of people. Understanding and overcoming this mis-relation is not just a theoretical task but a practical one.

Dialectical value distinguishes itself from any purely economic or ethical, material or spiritual, psychological or biological view of human values. It is based on a fundamental distinction between symbolic values which are expressed in languages and currencies, communicative and commercial exchange, and deep values, embodied in the individual qualities that people bring to their work and relationships, and through which they imbue them with value. The Dialectics of Value(s) has broad practical implications which cannot be restricted to the specialist domains of ethical and economic theory, for it also transforms our personal and social-scientific understanding of health and education, psychology and politics, religion and culture.

The first part of this manifesto presents a new critique not just of the ethics and economics of the market but of its culture - the culture of marketing - one which transforms all deep human values and cultural symbols into commodities. I use the concepts of negative value and negative surplus value, negative time and negative quality, to show its effects on the environment, health and education. In doing so I offer a new "deep socialist perspective": counter-posing deep health to superficial symbolic health, deep education to abstract symbolic education, deep profit to symbolic financial profit and deep politics to the moral marketing of political personalities and policies.

The second part of the manifesto moves from the Dialectics of Value(s) to the Ethics of Dialogue - extending Marx's analysis of value from the sphere of economic relations, commerce and commodity exchange to the sphere of human relations, culture and communicative exchange. Its aim is to show that the true link between economics and politics on the one hand, and culture and education on the other, is not "moral education" or "emotional education" but the intrinsic connection between valuing and learning . It introduces the principles and praxis of "relational learning" - learning to value others and valuing what we learn from others. Herein, values are defined as individual human qualities embodied in relating to others and materialised in labour. This understanding of values as embodied relational qualities is counter-posed to economic, political and psychoanalytic theories which interpret and value these qualities only symbolically, through their expression in cultural symbols and symbolic behaviour, communication and commerce, spoken languages and traded words and traded currencies.

In the third part of this manifesto, I set out new principles for socialist political education, organisation and leadership, based on the praxis of relational learning and relational thinking - of Dialogical Ethics and Dialectical Thinking. Their basis is the understanding that the socialist transformation of economic relations can only come about through a transformation of the human relations on which the market economy is based and which it reproduces. Human beings need to relate to others in society, not principally in order to be valued for the individual qualities they embody, but precisely in order to embody those individual qualities - to embody them in their relating. Deep Socialism is fulfilled individualism - a social individualism in which deep relational value fulfilment replaces the purely symbolic value fulfilment of atomised individuals and groups in the market economy.


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