Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)

  • Socialist philosopher and German-Jew that fled World War II Germany and immigrated to the USA
  • Wrote One-Dimensional Man to explain why widespread communist revolution had not happened

One-Dimensional Man (1964)

  • Capitalism uses advertising, consumerism, mass media, entertainment industry as a means of social control- produces conformity in what people desire, think
  • Created a society of one-dimensional people that are driven to make more $ to acquire more goods- people’s self-worth tied to their material possessions:

“[People] recognize themselves in their commodities…They find their soul in their automobile, hi-fi stereo, split-level home [and] kitchen equipment.”

  • Gave people the illusion of success– rising prosperity masked fact that the capitalist system continued to exploit & oppress people; deny them true fulfillment
  • Capitalism hurt people by making them work longer hours at jobs they don’t like; hinders their ability to seek true happiness and think for themselves
  • Capitalism hurt wider society as poverty still prevalent, environment damaged, social conflict and crime increasing, more people turning to drugs & alcohol to escape meaningless lives
  • Capitalism effectively neutralized Marx’s source of radical change (workers) by selling them the illusion of success- chance for change lies in hands of society’s outcasts (e.g. persecuted ethnic minorities, unemployed).
author avatar
William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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