Karl Marx - Alienation

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Alienation

In Karl Marx’s Selected Writings he describes the ways in which labor can lead to the alienation of the worker. First he describes a cause as the objectification of the worker and labor. Next he shows how a separation of the worker and the activity of working takes away from the essence of life. From there he argues the essence of being is lost because the worker does not have the identity of his work. And finally he describes an alienation due to the separation of worker and capitalist.

The first type of alienation occurs because there is an inverse relationship between the worker and product. Marx starts by describing the worker and labor as commodities. “Labor not only produces commodities, it also produces itself and labor as a commodity, and indeed in the same proportion as it produces commodities in general”(Simon 59). As the worker and his labor are viewed as commodities to be used as means for an end, they turn into objects. And Marx believes because the more the worker produces the owner becomes wealthier, therefore making the worker relatively poorer. This inverse relationship forces the worker deeper into the cycle and further away from the object of his labor. “So much does the appropriation of the object appear as alienation that the more objects the worker produces, the fewer he can own and the more he falls under the domination of his product, of capital”(Simon 60). The more the worker produces the more he becomes alienated from his production.

Next Marx describes alienation as the separation of the worker from the very act of working. He believes the means of life are found in the act of labor and when everything is objectified the worker loses contact. “The more the worker appropriates the external world and sensuous nature through his labor, the more he deprives himself of the means of life in two respects: first, that the sensuous external world gradually ceases to be an object belonging to his labor, a means of life of...
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