Economic determinism is the theory which attributes primacy to the economic structure over politics in the development of human history. It is usually associated with the theories of Karl Marx, although many Marxist thinkers have dismissed plain and unilateral economic determinism as a form of "vulgar Marxism", or "economism", nowhere included in Marx's works.
Economic determinism as understood by Marxism is the belief that economical laws determine the course of history. The law of economic determinism attributed to Marx's historical materialism is simple: self-preservation or the pursuit of food, clothing, and shelter is the supreme instinct in man. Therefore, the argument in favor of economic determinism says, it is natural to expect that the overwhelming amount of the decisions made by people will involve their pursuit of food, clothing, and shelter. Furthermore, it is predictable that these decisions will be made in such a way that they will favor acquisition of food, clothing, or shelter. A decision made by an individual against food, clothing, or shelter would clearly be against that persons interest and would clearly be uncommon if not rare. In as much as food, clothing, and shelter are commodities which are bought, sold and/or traded in society. The pursuit of these commodities is an economic activity.
Famous quotes containing the words economic and/or determinism:
“If in the earlier part of the century, middle-class children suffered from overattentive mothers, from being mothers only accomplishment, todays children may suffer from an underestimation of their needs. Our idea of what a child needs in each case reflects what parents need. The childs needs are thus a cultural football in an economic and marital game.”
—Arlie Hochschild (20th century)
“Man is a masterpiece of creation if for no other reason than that, all the weight of evidence for determinism notwithstanding, he believes he has free will.”
—G.C. (Georg Christoph)