Karl Marx, Alienation of Labor

Topics: Marxism, Communism, Karl Marx, Socialism, Sociology, Means of production / Pages: 4 (784 words) / Published: Oct 15th, 2007
Karl Marx believed that there are four aspects of a man's alienation that occur in a capitalist society. The product of labor, the labor process, our fellow human beings, and human nature are the four specific aspects of alienation that occur in a capitalist society.
Marx said that in the product of labor the worker is alienated from the object he produces because it is bought, owned and disposed of by someone else, the capitalist. In all societies people use their creative abilities to produce items which they use to exchange or sell. Marx believes that under capitalism this becomes an alienated activity because the worker can't use the things that he produces to engage in further productive activity. Marx argued that the alienation of the worker from what he produces is intensified because the products of labor actually begin to dominate the laborer. Rubin outlines this principle by explaining that the worker is paid less than the value that he creates. He also says that a portion of what the worker produces is appropriated by his boss and the worker is therefore exploited. The worker also puts creative labor into the product that he produces but he can not receive any creative labor to replace it.
The labor process is the second factor of alienation which Marx describes. Marx identified this as a lack of control over the process of production. He is basically saying that this lack of control over the work process transforms our capacity to work creatively into the opposite and the worker in turn experiences activity as passivity. The worker now sees his actions as independent of himself and does not believe that these actions belong to him any more.
Alienation from our fellow human beings is the third factor of alienation that Marx describes. This alienation occurs as a result of the class structure of society and the implications it brings about socially. In reference to the laborer, he is alienated from the people who exploit his labor and

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