Marx's Study Of Capitalism: What Is Alienated Labor?
October 13, 2016
Social Theory - Midterm Test
1. What is “alienated labor”? Please describe with illustrations.
In Marx’s study of capitalism, his term “alienated labor” is used to describe the proletariat worker’s relationship with the quality of their labor. According to Marx, the worker’s life is spent producing goods – commodities – for the capitalist’s gain. In return, the proletariat worker receives payment in the form of wages. These wages are often low and are not comparable to the amount of wealth – or capital – the capitalist has made from the commodity being sold in the market. Alienated labor is the lack of connection, power, and wealth of the worker in relation to the commodities produced by their …show more content…
To understand the role of the bourgeoisie in assessing class conflict between groups, origins must be understood. Historically, the bourgeoisie originated from medieval European municipalities. They were often considered tradesmen with developed skills as blacksmiths, merchants, and traders (Arana 2016). With the increased production of goods came accumulated wealth which led to the desire for more wealth. The bourgeoisie’s desire to grow production and wealth conflicted with larger social institutions; religious and political institutions. This conflict led to support for the institutions which aided in the growth and power of capital gain for the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie is the sole proprietors of labor. Because they have the expendable resources (capital) needed to hire workers to produce more goods, they are able to grow as capitalists. This exploitation is where the conflict begins between …show more content…
Beginning with the advent of the state in Italy around the sixteenth century, the deep questioning of the monarch allowed for the independent state to seize power over townspersons. Next, the political economy emerged, challenging the former more traditional economic system and asserting that the economy was able to self-regulate, also known as “laissez-faire” (Heilbron 1996:5). In short, human beings were beginning to be seen as active players in the economic, political, and social world with no power being given to the supernatural or religious world. They were communities seed as complicated units, each unique. By popularizing society’s meaning as developed by social theorists, traditional modes of thought were ousted. Theological and political powers of old were replaced with a secular society able to think freely on important issues such as science, philosophy, and intellectual discourse. Thinkers of the time were able to identify connections between varied social institutions in ways that were not possible when traditional thought reigned