Karl Marx "Estranged Labor" Summary of Estranged Labor Karl Marx is usually recognized as an advocate for the Communist system and believes it is superior to our current Capitalist system. In Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, he instead focuses on his reasoning behind why he believes that our current society based on Capitalism is flawed and in turn makes arguments towards why a different economic system would better benefit the workers.
In the "Comment on James Mill"Marx explained alienation thus: Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings. Each of us would have, in two ways, affirmed himself, and the other person.
Aside from the workers having no control over the design-and-production protocol, alienation Entfremdung broadly describes the conversion of labour work as an activitywhich is performed to generate a use value the productinto a commodity, which—like products—can be assigned an exchange value.
That is, the capitalist gains control of the manual and intellectual workers and the benefits of their labour, with a system of industrial production that converts said labour into concrete products goods and services that benefit the consumer.
Moreover, the capitalist production system also reifies labour into the "concrete" concept of "work" a jobfor which the worker is paid wages—at the lowest-possible rate—that maintain a maximum rate of return on the capitalist's investment capital ; this is an aspect of exploitation.
Furthermore, with such a reified system of industrial production, the profit exchange value generated by the sale of the goods and services products that could be paid to the workers is instead paid to the capitalist classes: In the capitalist mode of productionthe manual labour of the employed carpenter yields wages, but not profits or losses In the capitalist mode of production, the intellectual labour of the employed engineer yields a salary, but not profits or losses Strikers confronted by soldiers during the textile factory strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, United States called when owners reduced wages after a state law reduced the work week from 56 to 54 hours Alienation of the worker from the act of production[ edit ] In the capitalist mode of productionthe generation of products goods and services is accomplished with an endless sequence of discrete, repetitive motions that offer the worker little psychological satisfaction for "a job well done".
By means of commodificationthe labor power of the worker is reduced to wages an exchange value ; the psychological estrangement Entfremdung of the worker results from the unmediated relation between his productive labor and the wages paid to him for the labor.
The worker is alienated from the means of production via two forms; wage compulsion and the imposed production content. The worker is bound to unwanted labour as a means of survival, labour is not "voluntary but coerced" forced labor. The worker is only able to reject wage compulsion at the expense of their life and that of their family.
The distribution of private property in the hands of wealth owners, combined with government enforced taxes compel workers to labor. In a capitalist world, our means of survival is based on monetary exchange, therefore we have no other choice than to sell our labour power and consequently be bound to the demands of the capitalist.
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.
The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself"; "[l]abor is external to the worker" p. During work, the worker is miserable, unhappy and drained of their energy, work "mortifies his body and ruins his mind".
The production content, direction and form are imposed by the capitalist. The worker is being controlled and told what to do since they do not own the means of production they have no say in production, "labor is external to the worker, i.
A person's mind should be free and conscious, instead it is controlled and directed by the capitalist, "the external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own but someone else's, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another" p.
This means he cannot freely and spontaneously create according to his own directive as labor's form and direction belong to someone else. Alienation of the worker from their Gattungswesen species-essence [ edit ] The Gattungswesen species-essencehuman nature of individuals is not discrete separate and apart from their activity as a worker and as such species-essence also comprises all of innate human potential as a person.
Conceptually, in the term "species-essence" the word "species" describes the intrinsic human mental essence that is characterized by a "plurality of interests" and "psychological dynamism", whereby every individual has the desire and the tendency to engage in the many activities that promote mutual human survival and psychological well-being, by means of emotional connections with other people, with society.
The psychic value of a human consists in being able to conceive think of the ends of their actions as purposeful ideas, which are distinct from the actions required to realize a given idea. That is, humans are able to objectify their intentions by means of an idea of themselves as "the subject" and an idea of the thing that they produce, "the object".
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.
Whereas a person's Gattungswesen human nature does not exist independently of specific, historically conditioned activities, the essential nature of a human being is actualized when an individual—within their given historical circumstance—is free to subordinate their will to the internal demands they have imposed upon themselves by their imagination and not the external demands imposed upon individuals by other people.Private property, as the material, summary expression of alienated labor, embraces both relations – the relation of the worker to work and to the product of his labor and to the non-worker, and the relation of the non-worker to the worker and to the product of his labor.
KARL MARX Alienated Labor We have proceeded from the presuppositions of political economy. We have accepted its language and its laws.
We presupposed private property, the separation of labor, capital and land. Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts First Manuscript Estranged Labor.
We have started out from the premises of political economy. We have accepted its language and its laws. Karl Marx's Estranged Labor In Karl Marx's early writing on "estranged labor" there is a clear and prevailing focus on the plight of the laborer. Marx's writing on estranged labor is an attempt to draw a stark distinction between property owners and workers.
Karl Marx's theory of alienation describes the estrangement (Entfremdung) of people from aspects of their Gattungswesen ("species-essence") as a consequence of living in a society of stratified social classes. The alienation from the self is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of a social class, the condition of which estranges a person.
In Karl Marx's early writing on "estranged labor" there is a clear and prevailing focus on the plight of the laborer.
Marx's writing on estranged labor is an attempt to draw a stark distinction between property owners and workers.