Alienation, Existential anxiety, Reflexivity, Capitalism, Risk society

Document Type



The logic of capitalism affects both individuals and society. Alienation augments existential anxiety in the current precarity capitalism, which keeps urging competition among individuals to survive in capitalism and grow more. Excessive individualism, materialism, and consumerism in capitalism may weaken social ties and lower self-recognition, augmenting the existential anxiety of individuals. Losers in capitalism aggravate their anxiety whereas even winners may keep being anxious in the never-ending competition in capitalism. As long as people are kept engaged in capitalism, the pressure of the competition leads to a vicious cycle that keeps inducing anxiety, which signifies the precarity of capitalism. Existential anxiety triggered by precarity capitalism leads to growing social risks as the competitive pursuit of profits and growth will lead to increasing economic activities that expand material throughputs and affect the environmental and social situations. Facing such a situation, reconsidering individuals’ awareness and socio-economic priorities would be a way to escape from the vicious cycle, mitigating existential anxiety and risks in society. Individuals would need to shift away from a growth-oriented mindset towards being as part of the ecosystem and the world. This perspective would be compatible with the posthumanism perspective at societal level. The emerging discussion on post-capitalism and degrowth would give hints to shift from the competitive pursuit of profits of the current capitalism.




September 18, 2022


May 9, 2023