MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of Terms




The study of the forms of consciousness. Also a trend in philosophy beginning with Edmund Husserl which sought to found a scientific basis for philosophy by examination of the forms of subjective thought independent of any object. See Phenomenon and Heidegger.



Something manifested to the senses, contrasted with “noumenon” (sometimes called ‘Essence’, ‘thing-in-itself’ or ‘metaphysics’) which is beyond the bounds of experience and is a synonym for Appearance. For dialectics there is no sharp boundary between Phenomenon and Thing-in-itself.

Further Reading: Hegel on Kant's view of Phenomena.



An aspect of advanced capitalist (imperialist) culture, where both the wealthy capitalist and the wealthy worker practices. Giving away money for the benefit of others is based firstly on having money, which for the capitalist is primarily extracted from labor in the form of surplus value. A small portion of what the capitalist has exploited from his laborers, is in turn given back as a sign of good faith. For the wealthy worker, she may give to charity a small portion of her wealth that is not needed to maintain her and her families' sustenance.

Philanthropy can be advantageous for certain capitalists and profiteers (petty-bourgeois). In much of Africa at the end of the 20th-century, massive philanthropist organizations – employing thousands of workers, administrators, owning a great deal of office space, equipment and goods – exist to funnel money from imperialist nations into the exploited nations, and to exchange that money for things like food or farm equipment (thus creating a profitable market for some industries where there would not otherwise be a market). Further however, with the population subsistent on foreign charity of food and equipment, multinational corporations and local bourgeois who own most of Africa's fertile land, instead of selling the food grown at a very cheap price on the local market, can export the "exotic" African foods to European and American markets for a much higher price. At the same time, Africa continues to starve because its food is being exported for great profit, which continues to bring in charity money to ensure that the cycle continues.