I want to reflect on the relationship between the State on the one hand, the universal condition of my survival, and wealth, as a category of individual expression and personal safety. What is the relationship between the two in individual consciousness? How do we experience this relationship?
There is another side to this question that concerns the conditions of this experience itself. How are State and wealth related per se, in their substance as Hegel would say and how does that give rise to the way we are conscious of them? Not surprisingly in a dialectical philosophy as Hegel’s, we will find that the objective relationship between State and wealth conditions a consciousness in which this relationship is reversed and partially negated. A dialectical approach to this issue means, that we understand that this subjective experience is both illusory – because it does not reflect the true and presupposed reality – and necessary– because the underlying reality is such that this illusion is also necessarily produced.
It remains to be seen however – and this refers to the status of Hegelian dialectics in general – whether Hegel’s solution to the problem can be maintained. It is the speculative element of his method that I am sceptical about. It is through this element of dialectics that we assume, that the truth resides positively in the whole, in which both the subjective and the objective element are combined. We must ask whether Hegel’s idea about the inner unity of individual and State, wealth and power, the “real Spirit”, unfolding itself in a series of dialectical oppositions, can be maintained. The thesis is given already at the beginning. In his introduction of Section B, the Spirit in self-estrangement – the disciplin of culture Hegel states that “The substance in this way is spirit, self-conscious unityof the self and the essential nature; but both also take each other to mean and to imply alienation.”  The alienation is therefore secondary, the unity – stressed as a dynamic unfolding – is self-conscious unity. Relying on the basis idea that substance can become subject, i.e. what is posited as being in itself can and should become self-conscious reality – for-itself – every opposition where two antagonistic elements appear must be resolved into a higher unity.
This is not the place to resolve the fundamental issue of how to read Hegel in our modern times when we no longer share his basic intuitions. Still, it can be useful just to make a few remarks about this problem. So that is where I will begin.