MARC CRITIQUE OF CAPITALISM: anthropology and political economy
Marx on individual human nature (his philosophical anthropology)
- Importance of creative and productive work (rather than leisure) as a human need.
- people produce not only means of subsistence, but also themselves through work (notion of HUMAN
- working class doesn’t own means of production, capitalist class own – that’s his idea of classes.
- He believes driving force between historical changes of societies, (Marx called is socio-economic
The driving force, the final cause is the development in means of production. That causes change in
society (change in classes)
Nature of human nature – humans need work, they get bored without it. Essence is the need of work,
they need to know they contributed to the society, did something useful and that people need their
work. People produce them selves through work (they develop their abilities through work an change
their abilities and personalities through work)
-human potential is historically created – it increases through history and is limitless – as you develop
your abilities thru work, and education, you can always develop more. it defers from one stage of
historic development from another.
A rich person according to marx, isn’t who owns all, has all. But is a peson who lives and needs “the
totality of human life” if you wanted to have and be everything possible at your time (develop your
According to marx, in class societies, most people do not develop their human potential completely,
because of exploitation and lack of control over them selves.
Means to cunsomption – not used to develop your abilities, far below your abilities, but you needed it,
cause you needed the money, in order to buy things. (a job you didn’t like)
According to marx – not only proletariat, but also bourgeoisie is poor (the capitalist) – they forgoe their
human potential for greed.
Needs: enduring and relative (created by a particular social structure EX . need for money in capitalism)
Marx distinguishes enduring (in common for all human beings, when ever and where ever they live) and
relative needs (developed in what ever social structure they live)
Artificial needs 0 created in order to expand consumption.
Primary economy – SUBSISTEN ECONOMY – a situation in which you produce what you need, you don’t
go to someone else and work for them, you take the money you earn and go buy something for your self
(exchange economy – exchange labor for money and then money for subsistence you need, maybe in
order to survive (food)… )
Need for money in capitalism is a relative need – only develops in capitalism
Artificial needs are those which are created in order to expand consumption, not needs which improve
your human potential (intrinsically happier, develop ur ability or knowledge) thye have been developed
by distributors of goods (EX – FASHION, you need clothes only to be protected form the weather, but
fashion industries teach you about trends.)
Are you responding to your environmental need (snow jackets worn out) or are you responding to your
social environment (fashion trends)
ENDURING HUMAN NEEDS (needs that those who ever lived are going to live will have)
Needs for (objective/material) physical reproduction (everything you need to survive generally and for
the next generation, create new humans)
SUBJECTIVE/NON MATERIAL – self actualization, you realize your potential and you want to do things
your potential allow you to, and self determination – someone else controlling your life.He expands Hegel’s concept of freedom – as long as your thoughts are free, you are free.
Marx says – what good is it to have your free thoughts if your socio economic condition are so limited
that you cant put you thoughts into action – so to marx, a person who not only thinks freely but who has
self actualization (knw their human potential) and can make their thoughts true and have no limitations
re really free.
Primacy of material needs – people have to satisfy material needs before they pursue non material
needs (from the communist manifesto : people must eat then drink before they philosophize)
Purpose of production in communist society will be satisfaction of human needs and development of all
human potential (not profit, state power) Marx’s ideal society.
SELF ALIENATION- situation in which people are not developing their human potential, a situation in
which they are alienated.
Alienation – estrangement.
- A person who is not realizing his or her human potential is self alienated, or alienated from
his/herself or from his/her human essence
Anthropologically - this is the most important of the 4 forms of alienation
What prevents people from realizing their human potential?
1) Primitive state of means of production – means of production are very primitive so primitive
people cant. Primitive communism. slavery societies. Feudal societies. Capitalism.
2) Social relationships of domination (based on private ownership) – because everything in society
is organized for production – no one can worry about the development of their human potential
(workin class simply cant because they take any jb they can in order to survive and the ruling
class choose not to develop because its too busy pursuing maximum profit. Slave over slaves,
aristrocrats over serves, capitalist over workin, prevents them from pursuing the full human
potential. As slaves serve in working class, they cant pursue their full human potential because
they are struggling for survival – but in primary _____ every one is busy struggling because there
aren’t enough means of production (technology)
Marx and angel disagreed
Marx said yes –
Engel said no - people in primitive communism were not self alienated at all, they were perfectly free,
because there were no classes. They were equal to each other, no body domi