Enslavement of Modern Man-Polisci: Marx and Rousseau

Topics: Sociology, Marxism, Means of production Pages: 3 (1224 words) Published: May 24, 2012
The Enslavement of Modern Man
A recurring idea throughout history when dealing with philosophy is the enslavement of modern man. Many philosophers such as Marx and Rousseau believe that the modern man is enslaved, despite ideas that we are all free people, and that we accept the fact that we are enslaved. In order to properly take this thought head on, we must concentrate on property and the division of labor. Without property, there would be no division of labor, thus the modern man would not be enslaved, and we would all truly be free.

One may ask, “How are we enslaved if the Constitution declares us free?” Karl Marx and Jean-Jacques Rousseau would answer this question by explaining that property creates different classes, which ultimately puts people against one another. In this case, the human race is no longer united; it becomes separated into the free men and the enslaved men. The enslaved men or proletariat class, of course, would be the men who are not free. Although they may have a freedom by law, which must be obeyed, they are not free because the other men, the bourgeois class, enslave them. Marx best explains how we become enslaved in his work, Estranged Labour. “The whole of society must fall apart into two classes---the property-owners and the property-less workers (Estranged, p. 70). Marx explains that the workers, or property-less become a slave of his object, or his work, because that is all he has. The labor that is done by the property-less becomes enslaving because it benefits the property-owners in marvelous ways, but does exactly the opposite for the workers (Estranged, p. 73). First, the fact that labour is external to the worker, it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does 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...
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