Stage Theoretic Trends
In the foregoing chapters I have presented a way of moving from the theory of a purely capitalist society to stage theory, from the inner logic of capital to four stage-theoretic abstract types of capital accumulation. As a logic, the theory of pure capitalism is a structural dialectic; historical change per se is entirely excluded, and tendencies are theorized as abstract possibilities rather than developmental trends. Stage theory is a looser construction than pure theory; and hence, I have treated it as a set of structures and practices theorized as abstract types. In each stage the economic, the ideological, the legal, and the political are set beside one another as mutually supporting and interpenetrating practices — no one area of practice is made a function of another. Historical analysis enters into stage theory primarily to aid the construction of abstract types and not explore or explain historical change per se. For this reason, stage theory is still quite synchronic in character even though it is a large step closer to history than the theory of a purely capitalist society. If neither pure theory nor stage theory theorize historical development and change, then how do we reach the level of historical analysis? How do we move from levels of analysis that are primarily synchronic to levels that are primarily diachronic? If marxian political economy cannot ultimately help us to understand historical change and development, then surely it must be largely a futile exercise.
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