Dissertation
Dissertation > Economic > Economics > Basic problems of economics > Sectors of the economy > Consumption and accumulation

An Ethical Analysis of Consumption Values in Contemporary China

Author ZhangHua
Tutor LiXueLi
School Harbin Institute of Technology
Course The philosophy of Marxism
Keywords consumption consumption values ethics value
CLC F014.5
Type Master's thesis
Year 2008
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Consumption is the most essential and important condition of human subsistence and development. According to Marx,“Ever since the first day of human existence on the earth, humans have to consume goods, whether the consumption happens before or during the production.”Consumption, as a major link in reproduction, is not only a question of economy but also one of ethics. Behind it there hides people’s value orientation.Guided by Marxist historical materialism, the present paper employs the research methodology of combinations of literature analysis and illustration, history and logic, comparison and analysis and induction and deduction to probe into traditional Chinese consumption values, Western consumption values and contemporary Chinese consumption values. It illuminates on traditional Chinese values such as economy as virtue, frugality over luxury, economy, anti-luxury, temperance, hedonism, contentedness, no desire, desire suppression, and western consumption values such as meanness, thrift, asceticism, exaggerated consumption, high consumption and consumerism. It also entertains the impact of traditional Chinese consumption values and western consumption values on contemporary Chinese consumption values. The major types of contemporary Chinese consumption values and their ethical traits are discussed in it with a clarification of ways of expressing different consumption values and their traits. The author, from the perspectives of social economic development, relationships between man and nature and relationships between man and his own development, proposes the idea of establishing harmonious consumption values. Harmonious consumption values aim at achieving harmonious development of social economy, protecting ecological environment and making people live a healthy life. The innovative point of the paper finds its expression in the proposal of the new idea of harmonious consumption values, which is a beneficial approach to the problems of consumption ethics. Harmonious consumption values are characterized by their rich connotation, pace-keeping with the times and conformity with ethical requirement. They are a new type of consumption values in agreement with the construction of harmonious society and they are of theoretical and realistic significance.The goal of moral is to improve individual and collective lives. The moral goal of consumption is to better social life and people’s living standard and to make consumption conform to the demands of social economy and moral ethics so as to facilitate social development in a harmonious and healthy way.

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