Sidney Mintz Was Influenced By The Ideas Of Karl Marx Essay

938 Words Dec 14th, 2016 4 Pages
Sidney Mintz was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx. His mother belonged to a Marxist organization when he was a child and he continued to discuss Marx’s ideas with the Mundial Upheaval Society at Columbia (Smith). In Sweetness and Power, Mintz touches on Marx’s ideas of historical materialism and the separation of production and consumption within that system. Mintz’s object of study is sugar as a commodity and a means of subsistence (Mintz 1985: 6). His approach leaves room for culture at work in the societies as another way to understand the societies. Mintz’s main subject of study is how sugar helped to fuel colonialism and the Industrial Revolution (6). He also touches upon the “Commercial Revolution” as well; this underlies the Industrial Revolution to come and is seen by many Marxists as part of a transition to capitalism, though it is not fully capitalistic (65).
In The German Ideology, Marx describes how the production of the means of subsistence in a group of people produces their material life (Marx 1978: 150). He also sees a unilineal evolution of economies and tracks them from primitive to feudal to capitalist to communist, the final step in this evolution. The transition between these systems is always punctuated by a revolution. The first two revolutions are individual-based and that is why they fail. The final revolution from capitalism to communism is a collective, class-based revolution because Marx believes that a collective is needed to effect…

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