Marxism, Socialism and Morality
This chapter discusses various attempts that Geras made to elaborate a Marxist theory of justice. Cowling agrees with Geras that ‘to each according to his needs’ cannot possibly refer to any resources whatsoever that someone might need. Geras comments that providing everybody with a basic decent existence would have revolutionary implications compared to the status quo. Cowling comments that he should have said something about poverty in China compared with India. Geras says there should be ethical limits to the conduct of revolutionaries, which can be extrapolated from just war theory, and involves a departure from the ideas of Trotsky. Here and, more emphatically in the Euston Manifesto, of which Geras was the main author, strong elements of liberalism, notably liberal democracy and human rights, are introduced. Cowling argues that with this, and a late article in which Geras criticizes Marx’s economics, the Marxist background has virtually disappeared.
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