3 June 2013
The Abomination of Economics
Economics, the distribution of capital and goods, influences all aspects of human life in our modern consumerist society. The growing strength of manufacturing and urbanization occurring during Kafka’s life created massive tensions between social classes spawning a multitude of economic and social philosophies which addressed issues caused by the growing industrial might of nations as well as the rapidly growing wealth and poverty apparent in most industrialist cities and was further enforced by the onset of the First World War. The Metamorphosis reflects upon the economic struggle caused by the onset of the ...view middle of the document...
Marx is not the first advisor of communistic ideals, both Christianity and Judaism emphasize upon avoidance of greedy and materialistic practices in society as reflected in the book of Amos:
Hear this, you who trample upon the needy,
And would bring the poor of the land to an end,
Saying, When will the new moon pass
That we may sell grain,
And the Sabbath that we may offer wheat for sale,
Making the ephah small and the price great,
And falsifying the scales;
Buying the poor for silver,
And the needy in exchange for a pair of sandals,
And selling the refuse of the grain.
Marxist ideals are based upon standing beliefs which had been integrated into society through religious practice. Max Bense further enforces the religious connection in “Kafka’s Conception (Thematik) of Being” form Die Theorie Kafkas, in the opening of his essay he explains the concepts of a higher being which he further connects into the book: “What is called surrealism […] comes under the non-classical conception of being, in which the fiction of the distinctive, real world no longer exists (Bense 52).” This relates back into the Marxist interpretation of Gregor and his metamorphosis as Bense clarifies the religious connections between Marxism and the Judeo-Christian beliefs which are presented in the book. The Samsa family also reflects Marxist beliefs presenting Gregor as the scourge of capitalism. Gregor’s transformation places a massive burden upon his family forcing them to sell their labor in order to continue living at their current status. Marxism presents labor as similar to slaves only differing in that “The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly” (Engels 7) the family is forced to sell their labor in order to continue living while Gregor continues to be an anchor just as capitalism was seen by the lower classes during the industrial revolution. Marx continues by connecting the social issues which lie within the capitalist system to religious connections which had developed heavily into the western world:
The so-called Christian state is the Christian negation of the state, but by no means the political realization of Christianity. The state which still professes Christianity in the form of religion, does not yet profess it in the form appropriate to the state, for it still has a religious attitude towards religion – that is to say, it is not the true implementation of the human basis of religion, because it still relies on the unreal, imaginary form of this human core. The so-called Christian state is the imperfect state, and the Christian religion is regarded by it as the supplementation and sanctification of its imperfection. For the Christian state, therefore, religion necessarily becomes a means; hence, it is a hypocritical state. It makes a great difference whether the complete state, because of the defect inherent in the general nature of the state, counts religion among its presuppositions, or whether...