Western Marxist Research on the Mode of Man’s Existence

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No.4, 2018


Western Marxist Research on the Mode of Man’s Existence



Chen Xueming


Western Marxism has carried on and developed the theory of alienation represented by Marx’s Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Marx’s work shows that modern man’s state of existence is one of total alienation. This alienated state of existence is manifested particularly in the one-sided formation of man’s life by material things, which plunges him into a consumerist mode of existence. The consumer lifestyle can only satisfy false needs; it fragments and abstracts man’s real needs and flouts or even rejects his subjectivity, and is by its nature undesirable. The root cause of this unfortunate state of existence is capitalism. The inner logic of capital spawns an alienated, consumerist state of existence, a state maintained by the dominance of the entire capitalist social system. To leave this state of existence requires the all-round and free development of man.