The society of knowledge is made an object of investigation by many contemporary authors. Its basic characteristics, however, were captured by Radovan Richta as long ago as the 1960’s. Richta was one of the first theoreticians to point out that know¬ledge, and the all-round development of man, is becoming an economic factor. In his pioneering conception, Richta was inspired by Marx, who analysed the basic principles of the society of knowledge as far back as the second half of the nineteenth century. The author interprets Marx’s conception with a special emphasis on the contradictions which appear between the demands of the all-round developed person and that of the capitalist economy. In conclusion, the author formulates the thesis that the contemporary society of knowledge is a society of fluid alienation in which knowledge acquires an alienated character.