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Ethics and the Present Class Struggle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 September 2018

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A specter is haunting the Western world— the specter of the New Class. The apparition is new, as yet not clearly perceived; even the language by which it is to be described is only beginning to be constructed. This is not surprising. Whenever a class makes its debut on the societal stage it is at first not recognized as such, either by outside observers or by those- who are themselves part of it. Instead, society continues for a while to be perceived and interpreted in terms that were appropriate to the class system that is already passing away. This was very much so during the last great transformation of the Western class system, as the bourgeoisie rose to power under the facade of the ancien regime and, until the very moment of its victory, continued to be seen as the "third estate" of a feudal order. Then as now it is the hard facticity of power rather than the play of ideas that finally must shatter the old perceptions. Then as now it is the antagonists of the rising class who have the clearer vision of what is going on.

Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 1978

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