Alienation of labor
Alienation of labor
Marx connects alienation with the division of labour, wages and private property. For Marx, the main aspect of alienation is the separation of work or labour from the worker, and separation of the products of labour from the worker. Part of this is mental activity, in that humans do not just act on instinct, but construct the task or object in their mind before undertaking the activity. Alienation can be more directly described as the result of the producers or workers not being in control or owning the products they produce as well as the production process in which they work. Marx on Alienation 1. Within this antithesis, the private property-owner is therefore the conservative side, and the proletarian the destructive side. Performance of work is its objectification. And what a contradiction it would be if, the more man subjugated nature by his labor and the more the miracles of the gods were rendered superfluous by the miracles of industry, the more man were to renounce the joy of production and the enjoyment of the product to please these powers. These are some of what are often regarded as dehumanizing conditions of work under capitalism. The family and the home have become leisure activities in and of themselves; they have also become subject to the priorities of the market. He showed how, although aspects of the society we live in appear natural and independent of us, they are the results of past human actions.
Marx looks on human labour as one of the chief ways in which humans are distinguished from non-human animals. During work, the worker is miserable, unhappy and drained of their energy, work "mortifies his body and ruins his mind".
Simon, Hackett Publishing Company. It is further reinforced by the capitalist mode of production through the existence of a reserve army of labor: the unemployed. In manufacture the workmen are parts of a living mechanism.
In a capitalist economy, workers must compete with each other for jobs and raises. As a result, work is often dreary, repetitive, and even dangerous. Here is where some of the more social-psychological aspects of alienation emerge.
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