The Hegelian Moment: from the Withering Away of Labour to the Concrete Universality of Work.
This article engages with Todd McGowan’s Emancipation after Hegel by taking seriously its overall ambition, that of thinking emancipation in conjunction with the central Hegelian category of the contradiction. Endorsing the intractability of the contradiction, that is to say the self-relating inadequacy (negativity, inconsistency) of thought, is for McGowan the philosophical task par excellence for any reader of Hegel. In what follows, I tackle the above proposition by exploring it in connection with the capital-labour dialectic. The aim, however, is not to offer yet another debate on Marx’s controversial return to Hegel. Rather, I probe the extent to which Hegel’s dialectical method of enquiry allows us to grasp the immanent contradiction of contemporary capitalism and its socio-economic crisis. I argue that while capital is by definition reconciled with its labour contradiction, insofar as the latter is the engine of its mode of production and socio-economic dynamism, at the same time such dialectic is now fast approaching its expiration date: the historical tipping point at which the contradiction stops working for capital and mercilessly begins to destroy its foundations.
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