Lukacs’ and Capitalist Alienation

Gyorgy Lukacs

“[man’s] own labor becomes something objective and independent of him, something that controls him by virtue of an autonomy alien to man. There is both an objective and a subjective side to this phenomenon. Objectively a world of objects and relations between things springs into being (the market). The laws governing these objects are indeed gradually discovered by man, but even so they confront him as invisible forces. The individual can use his knowledge of these laws to his own advantage, but he is not able to modify the process by his own activity. Subjectively a man’s activity becomes estranged from himself, it turns into a commodity which, subject to the natural laws of society, must go its own way independently of man. Thus the commodity form is responsible for the abstraction of the human labour incorporated in commodities”

Lukács, György. 1971. History And Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics.
London: Merlin Press. [P. 87. Italics in original]


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