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Are We There Yet An Exploration Into the Stages of Capitalism Society can be categorized by certain stages in history Karl Marxs theory of historical materialism mapped out the evolution of society through five distinct epochs 1 Hunter-gatherer 2 Tribal 3 Feudal 4 Capitalism and 5 Communism But are these epochs true to societal evolution What of the transition between epochs The questioning of Marxs theory of historical materialism is central to contemporary theorists And further debates emerge as to exactly which of the new phases society may currently be in The Frankfurt School was the first to revise the earlier Marxist theory by claiming that society had entered a second stage of capitalism known as advanced industrial capitalism Decades later postmodernist thinkers claimed yet another level had been reached calling this third phase of capitalism postmodern or late capitalism The question of which stage of capitalism is present today is the focus of this writing Through an examination of economic policies governmental influence and culture this writing wishes to clarify exactly which position our society has reached in its evolution Since this essay attempts to determine if society has actually reached postmodernisms third phase of capitalism then that is where it shall begin An explanation of what constitutes a postmodern capitalist society forms of economics government and culture will then be followed by paralleled descriptions of what had to have existed before it namely the Frankfurt Schools advanced industrial capitalism and Karl Marxs early competitive capitalism A culminating thought on what makes these stages similar on what makes them different and on the effects these systems have on the rest of the society will lead to a final conclusion concerning the condition of capitalism in our current state The inception of postmodern thought is difficult to determine considering many examples can be found even at high points in modernism Formally the acceptance of postmodernism as a legitimate theory is traced to the 1980s
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