Karl Marx and Estranged Labor
Marx on page 327 of his essay estranged labor is describing what to him were
the fundamental conditions of labor under capitalism and why he found them
detrimental to man. It is an essay about how people experience work. Marx
criticizes capitalism by analyzing his theory of alienation.The theme for this essay
was how workers in capitalism are alienated from their work .It covers 4 forms of
alienation in capitalist society.
Alienation is the transfer of property from one to another; foreign strange,
unknown or to separate. Marx explains how labor negatively produces itself and
the workers as a commodity. The object that labor produces confronts the laborer
as something alien and a power independent of the producer. The product of
labor is labor, which has been frozen in an object.
In capitalism the loss of the object is loss of reality for the worker.
These facts are all tied to his concept of alienation. Alienation preceded
private property. It is not the separation between those who own the
material forces of production and those who don't that causes alienation,
but rather it is the other way around. There are four forms of alienation:
The first form of alienation is alienation of the worker from the production
process. In order for the worker to produce the worker needs nature in which to
achieve the objectification of their subjectivity (to create an object) and also to
reproduce themselves. However in the capitalist system the worker receives
work (being productive is part of the species being) and receives
sustenance for work. Therefore in order to exists as a species being, the worker
obtain substance of their species being from someone else. Therefor by
selling the ability to work for a period of time (labor), the worker
is estranged from themselves and the production process. The workers are
not producing to improve themselves, but rather is producing and doing
their most basic life activity to survive. The labor process is purely a
means to satisfy an end, as opposed to being an end in itself. Which...