Alienated Labor Theory- Karl Marx

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Is That All There Is

The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 is a compilation of thoughts regarding German economic and political concerns. Karl Marx conceives capitalist society’s responsible for the estrangement of the laborer. The capitalist mode of production ensures that man’s labor necessarily restricts him from acting in accordance with his humanity. The theory of capitalism diverts him, in the sense that it provides false hope for betterment, while the structure of capitalism, in coercing him to fluctuate his priorities away from that of an autonomous social being towards that of a collective individual, debases man’s special bond to his species- what is self-contradictory is it asks him to abandon his deepest bond to humanity, while at the same time offering him the hope of becoming a better social being. As a result of this contradiction, Marx affirm, man’s labor alienates him from himself and from his species. Yet I am here to argue, although man may feel alienated from himself and product of work, man has the choice, option to free himself from notions of capital enslavement. Within this essay, I will define estrangement of labor and the four main dimensions of alienation, evident in a capitalist society. I will discuss how alienated labor comes about as a result of capitalism and why said labor is not socially commend. Furthermore, I will elucidate on what non-alienated labor would be like, compared to alienated labor, in a capitalist society. Ultimately, I will annotate why Marx’s critique of capitalism is unfound and how labor under capitalism is in fact, engaging.

Estrangement or alienation is a means of objectification, in which man and his labor are manifested in a product that is, unfavorable, to him; alien in the sense that man encounters no self-realization from this process, instead upholds something both independent and foreign to him as agent (Gid 11). Marx notes: “Labor is external to the laborer, it does belong to his...
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