Estranged Labor

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Estranged Labor
In The Communist Manifesto, Marx illustrates how the working class in society is alienated, under the system of private property, in several ways such from the product of their labor, the work itself, from species-being, and from each other. This private property the workers work on is owned by a minute portion of the population who, in exchange for mass production of their product, put their employees through unfair labor conditions. This leads Marx to believe that a human being puts all of his life into working on a product, while working for a capitalist system, but never gets to use it hence, becoming alienated from the product and important parts of life. In essence, the worker will also become alienated in distinct ways. In the following paragraphs, Marx views on working for a capitalist industry will be emphasized and compared to the book written by Upton Sinclair, The Jungle.

In The Communist Manifesto, the working class is called the Proletariat and the capitalists are the Bourgeois. Marx illustrates how the Proletariat is estranged from the product of their labor as they put all their life by working extremely hard to create a certain product only to not be able to use it. "According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness, for those of its members who work, acquire nothing" (The Communist Manifesto, Marx, 13). This quote can be understood in such a manner that it's saying that the more a worker uses himself up to build a product, the poorer he becomes and becomes alienated from the product. Also, since the worker is putting all of his life into the creation of a product, his life no longer belongs to him but to the product. Furthermore, the more a worker operates, the less he will own material wise and of himself. He will give up his life for a product that he will never cherish by physically operating it. However, Marx further explains that not only will a worker become estranged from the product of his labor but of the work itself as well.

In the quote stated above, it showed how a worker is alienated from the product of his own work and from himself. However, it also shows how a worker becomes alienated from work itself because, who would want a job that wont benefit from it both materially and financially? Nobody, and in this quote it points out that a worker doesn't benefit from his job. In effect, a worker wouldn't appreciate his job or want to keep it. For example, in The Jungle, Jurgis started out with a job that wasn't the best in the world but it slowly started to get even worse when the bosses would lower his wages or he couldn't benefit from the product, the meat. If he did have the opportunity to benefit from the product of his work, he would've been able to feed himself and his family. However, this never happened but what did happen is that he started to give up his life to the product since, he worked long hours under poor working conditions. Essentially, he didn't appreciate his job but had nowhere else to go so he kept working for the same company that mistreated its workers. Consequently, since he never benefited from his work, he lost appreciation for it and by process, became estranged from his own work. This is just a comparison between the content in The Communist Manifesto and a real life assumption in The Jungle that can be made. Marx's views can even be compared to work nowadays. Though, Marx doesn't only explain how a worker can become estranged from the product of the worker's labor, himself, and work itself, but from themselves too.

The Proletariat and the Bourgeois are separated to be distinguished as separate classes in society. On the other hand, the working class, the Proletariat, without noticing becomes estranged from each other. Even though many workers are placed into one class, they are still distinguished and separated into subclasses "…the middle class-the small - tradespeople, shopkeepers, retired...
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