Marx’s Idea of Social Transformation

Social Sciences in China (Chinese Edition)

No. 2, 2022


Marx’s Idea of Social Transformation



Yang Haifeng


Marx lived at a time when Western society was in transition from tradition to modernity, a transition that has been analyzed by different scholars from different standpoints. Romanticism, naturalism and critical reformism were the main trends of the time. At different stages in his intellectual development, Marx had different understandings of capitalist social change. While writing his doctoral thesis and editing the Rheinische Zeitung, he criticized Germany’s feudal dictatorship on the basis of rational self-consciousness. After 1844, Marx described the transition from medieval to modern capitalist society by integrating philosophy, political economy and socialist thought, forming a critical discourse based on the logic of alienation, the logic of production and the logic of capital in three distinct phases. In contrast to romanticism, naturalism and critical reformism, Marx proposed the idea of a future-oriented reconstruction. Marx’s reflections on the transformation of capitalist society provide theoretical guidance for our understanding of social development and change in the present.