An Account Of Karl Marx's Theory Of Alienation

1465 words - 6 pages

Karl Marx's Theory of AlienationKarl Marx's theory of alienation presents us with a grim view of capitalist society and the dehumanising effect that this society has on the worker. Marx's theory of alienation refers to human beings becoming alienated from the society that, according to Marx, they created. As society develops human beings gradually begin to feel that it is not of their making and they do not feel at home in such a place. Marx's idea of worker alienation refers to the worker being stripped of all his inherent human qualities as a result of the production process, which in turn alienates and estranges him from what he is and what he does. There are four main components in regards to Marx's theory of alienation and in the course of this essay I intend to examine each of these in some detail in order to extract the core meaning of Marx's theory and, in doing so, show this theory's relevance to modern day society.The Four Components of Marx's Theory of Alienation are:1. Alienation from the product2. Alienation from the production process3. Alienation from the species4. Alienation from fellow man1. Alienation from the productFirstly in the capitalist society Marx points out how the worker becomes alienated from the product he produces. This is as a result of the profit-obsessed economy in which he exists. The worker in this economy cares nothing for the product, he is merely churning out units, as the economy requires. He does not possess nor care for the fruits of his labour; they are simply a stage in the production process. What he produces is for exchange and not for himself. The labourer does not own the product that he produces; it belongs to the 'capitalist'. The 'capitalist' is a term Marx uses regularly in his writings and it refers to the employer or person who runs this dehumanising environment. Marx believed that the worker is connected to the natural world and can produce nothing without it because "it is the material upon which labour is manifested." However in the capitalist society the labourer no longer has this bond with the natural world because in such a society the means of production are privately owned. Marx also stated that despite the labourer's estrangement from the product he produces, he also becomes reliant on it. This dependence on the product is two-fold: firstly they receive work from it and, secondly they do receive a physical payment as a result of producing the product. However this payment is only indirect, in the form of wages. The core idea of man becoming alienated from the product he produces stems from the fact that he is unable to use or utilise the product he produces. In Marx's opinion this is very much the essence of labour and, as a result of this being stripped of the worker, their alienation from the product grows.2. Alienation from the production processNext Marx focused on the worker's alienation from his productive activity, the work he does. Marx...

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