Judgment of Economic Determinism from Historical Materialism

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.7, 2020


Judgment of Economic Determinism from Historical Materialism



Shen Jiangping


“Economic determinism” or “economic materialism” emerged in the Second International, and there are still similar views today. “Economic determinism” has almost become a habitual “misreading” of historical materialism. Theoretically, “economic determinism” is a theoretical model to understand human history on the basis of the traditional philosophical approach. It resorts to the thinking mode of “fundamentalism” and “reductionism,” mechanically interprets the relationship between economic foundation and superstructure, and emphasizes economic factors as the only decisive ones. In practice, the dogmatic tendency of economic determinism separates theory from practice, alienates historical materialism into a kind of “bystander empirical science,” conceals the value position of historical materialism, hinders revolutionary practice and even goes to the opposite side of the revolutionary movement. Therefore, it is necessary to reflect on and reveal the essence of economic determinism from the perspective of theory, and clarify the truth of historical materialism.