Alienation and Communism

David Miller

in Market, State, and Community

Published in print December 1990 | ISBN: 9780198278641
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599903 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

 Alienation and Communism

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Socialists have attacked market economies on the grounds that they create personal relationships that are alienating rather than communal. Taking Marx's theory of alienation as its main point of reference, the chapter explores various possible sources of alienation, isolating those that are specific to the market. However, Marx also praised capitalism for freeing individuals from the social engulfment they had experienced in pre‐capitalist societies. The challenge for those who follow him is to show how individuality can be preserved in a communist society. In market socialism, economic relations can take on a double character—instrumental, competitive, and spontaneous at one level, ‘human’, co‐operative, and planned at the second—and thus overcome alienation.

Keywords: alienation; capitalism; communism; individuality; market socialism; Karl Marx

Chapter.  9545 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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