Workplace Alienation Essay

1483 words - 6 pages

Throughout my work experience I have been a witness to various degrees of work alienation. As I continue to gather additional experience in the work environment and engage in discussions with fellow employees, it is clearly evident that there is workplace discontentment and feelings of being taken advantage of. Based on my work experiences to date, I agree with James Rinehart’s claim that forms of alienation are evident in the workplace. They force human beings into modes of behaviour that are unnatural and possibly harmful. I will illustrate that as we live in a capitalist environment, employees have little say or control over decisions made by their employers; workers do not have power over the processes or methods of work; workers lack fulfillment and are not treated fairly in their workplace and class structures are created to show dominance behavior.
Producing goods or services are dictated not by employees but by their employers. If profits exist, employers are the ones that benefit more so than the regular worker. “Even when working people experience absolute gains in their standard of living, their position, relative to that of capitalists, deteriorates.” (Rinehart, Pg. 14). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Hard work wears down the employee leaving them frustrated in their spare time. Workers are estranged from the products they produce. At the end of the day, they get paid for a day’s work but they have no control over the final product that was produced or sold. To them, productivity does not equal satisfaction. The products are left behind for the employer to sell and make a profit. In discussions with many relatives and friends that have worked on an assembly line, they knew they would not be allowed to take home the finished product without paying for it. In addition the products offered to them would be the rejected or second grade items that they could purchase at a discounted price.
As workers have little influence on what components are produced, they also have minimal say on how the labour process will work. “Just as workers must give up their power to control the product of their toil, they also cede their ability to determine the intensity and duration of work, to define the manner in which work is organized, divided and allocated and to determine the tools and machines used in the production process.” (Rinehart, Pg 14-15). In my experience working at a flea market for a fruit and vegetable vendor, I can attest that I had no say with respect to how the company ran its business. Additionally, I had no control over how and where they wanted me to display their items. Instructions were dictated to me with respect to how the produce should be displayed and I was expected to do as they instructed without discussion. My creativity and ideas were never taken into consideration. Their main objective was how they can optimize their profits. I did not receive any personal satisfaction in the work I...

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