The Early Frankfurt School Critique of Capitalism: Critical Theory Between Pollock’s “State Capitalism” and the Critique of Instrumental Reason

  • Harry F. Dahms
Part of the Studies in Economic Ethics and Philosophy book series (SEEP)


Despite profound differences, both the German Historical School and the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School share a common theoretical and cultural heritage in Central European traditions of social thought and philosophy. Although both schools often are perceived as quintessentially German traditions of economic and social research, their methodological presuppositions and critical intent diverge strongly. Since the objective of the Frankfurt School was to carry the theoretical critique initiated by Marx into the twentieth century, and since its members did so on a highly abstract level of theoretical criticism, the suggestion may be surprising that in terms of their respective research agendas, there was a common denominator between the German Historical School and Frankfurt School Critical Theory. To be sure, as will become apparent, the common ground was rather tenuous and indirect. We must ask, then: in what respects did their theoretical and analytical foundations and orientations overlap? How did the German Historical School, as a nineteenth-century tradition of economic thinking, influence the development of the Frankfurt School?


Political Economy Critical Theory Capitalist Production State Capitalism Capitalist Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Harry F. Dahms

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