A discussion on marxs writing on estranged labor
Such a primordial condition explains nothing; it merely pushes the question away into a grey nebulous distance. For labor, life activity, productive life itself, appears to man in the first place merely as a means of satisfying a need — the need to maintain physical existence.
With private property and a system of exchange that expands to create a money economy, the possibility of gain become vastly expanded. Workers have no control over the product, or over what they are producing and the products workers create end up dominating workers.
Private property is thus the product the result the necessary consequence of alienated labour
The worker puts his life into the object; but now his life no longer belongs to him but to the object. Humans, because they are self-conscious, make their own life activity, and this part of the essence of humanity. It produces beauty — but for the worker, deformity. It can be also the state or the company corporation , or any collective economic body that controls the fate and existence of its constituents. Let us now see, further, how the concept of estranged, alienated labor must express and present itself in real life. In tearing away from man the object of his production, therefore, estranged labor tears from him his species-life, his real objectivity as a member of the species and transforms his advantage over animals into the disadvantage that his inorganic body, nature, is taken from him. Marx argues that excahnge relationships are social relationships, even though they appear to become only money relationships. All these consequences are implied in the statement that the worker is related to the product of labor as to an alien object. Private property thus results by analysis from the concept of alienated labor, i.
Developing Hegel's human-spirit proposition, Marx said that those poles of idealism —"spiritual ignorance" and "self-understanding"—are replaced with material categorieswhereby "spiritual ignorance" becomes "alienation" and "self-understanding" becomes man's realisation of his Gattungswesen species-essence.
Likewise, there occurred a corresponding rearrangement of the human nature Gattungswesen and the system of values of the owner-class and of the working-class, which allowed each group of people to accept and to function in the rearranged status quo of production-relations.
Criticism of marx theory of alienation
First it has to be noted that everything which appears in the worker as an activity of alienation, of estrangement, appears in the non-worker as a state of alienation, of estrangement. In considering the validity of Marx's argument I feel Marx is correct that man's freedom is limited by the fact that he is a labourer. Conversely, unlike a human being an animal does not objectify itself as "the subject" nor its products as ideas, "the object", because an animal engages in directly self-sustaining actions that have neither a future intention, nor a conscious intention. Man therefore also forms objects in accordance with the laws of beauty. Individuals perform and act less and less like human beings, and more and more like machines. After labour mans life-activity, that is, his free conscious, activity, or his very nature, is displaced. He objected to some of the utopian or crude communist ideas that appeared in early socialist writings. The process of acting on and transforming inorganic matter to create things constitutes the core identity of the human being. Yet such people are not common in the Western capitalist world, and they are literally non-existent in countries such as China, Japan, etc. For Marx, capitalism is an economic and social system whereby the productive forces have been greater than ever before in human history, and this creates the possibility for a better society. Do not let us go back to a fictitious primordial condition as the political economist does, when he tries to explain. The worker "[d]oes not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. Whether he is identified by the product he creates in a factory or in a wheat field in either case he is tied to his work and is not viewed beyond it. Labour itself becomes an object which he can acquire only with the greatest effort and with unpredictable interruptions.
The analysis of alienation allowed him to pull together his philosophical background, his observations of early nineteenth century capitalism, his interest in political issues, and his first forays into a discussion of political economy.
Because labour is objectified, the labourer begins to identify the product of labour as labour.
In these early manuscripts, Marx reveals himself as the great philosopher of work, which he sees as a process of transforming physical matter raw materials into objects of sustenance.
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