institutions. A further objection is that Marxs assertion that only labour can create surplus value is unsupported by any argument or analysis, and can be argued to be merely an artifact of the nature of his presentation. Liberal rights and ideas of justice are premised on the idea that each of us needs protection from other human beings who are a threat to our liberty and security. If we could devise a concept of a normal society comparable to that of a normal organism we could distinguish between historical theory and historical pathology, and we could enter the development thesis as an hypothesis within the former. The theoretical issue is whether a plausible elaborating explanation is available to underpin Marxist functional explanations.
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In this sense he is correct to argue that Marxists must accept that human beings have an invariant nature. The essential move is cheerfully to admit that the economic structure does indeed develop the productive forces, but to add that this, according to the theory, is precisely why we have capitalism (when we do). Nevertheless we are left with a very rich text on the nature of alienated labour. This thought, derived from reflection on the history of philosophy, together with his experience of social and economic realities, as a journalist, sets the agenda for all Marxs future work. Quite possibly in the course of writing he came to understand that a different methodology is required for approaching economic issues. Cohens final argument for the permanent features of human nature is both very old and quite invalid. According to Cohen, The primacy thesis is that the nature of a set of production relations is explained by the level of development of the productive forces embraced. 12 The philosopher Roger Scruton, though finding Cohen's attempt to present historical materialism as a scientific hypothesis impressive, observes that it shows how difficult it is to develop the necessary concepts. What this view overlooks is the possibility for Marx, the fact that real freedom is to be found positively in our relations with other people. And finally, as noted, there are critics who believe that Cohens interpretation is entirely wrong-headed (Sayers). They are known as constant capital.
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