“The Bourgeoisie, when it was struggling against the nobility sustained by the clergy, hoisted the flag of free thought and atheism; but once triumphant, it changed its tone and manner and today it uses religion to support its economic and political supremacy. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it had joyfully taken up the pagan tradition and glorified the flesh and its passions, reproved by Christianity; in our days, gorged with goods and with pleasures, it denies the teachings of its thinkers like Rabelais and Diderot, and preaches abstinence to the wageworkers. Capitalist ethics, a pitiful parody on Christian ethics, strikes with its anathema the flesh of the laborer; its ideal is to reduce the producer to the smallest number of needs, to suppress his joys and his passions and to condemn him to play the part of a machine turning out work without respite and without thanks.”
I can’t say I agree completely with this guy but I cannot marvel at how people change their ‘ideology’ in order to fit their new status.
What I disagree about is ‘Capitalist ethics …. strikes with its anathema the flesh of the laborer’. It is NOT the ‘Capitalist ethic’ that does that terrible thing, it’s just the greediness of some of the capitalists.
Also his work explains Marx as a reaction to the excesses made by the early capitalists. In Russia, were society was not so tightly knit, those excesses went unchecked, hence the Bolshevik revolution while in the west, were society had already passed through some revolutionary bouts and had became stronger, were used other corrective measures: ‘no children in the mines’, the 10 and later 8 hours working day, minimum wages, charity, social assistance for the unable to work, etc.