Outline and Discuss Marx’s Theory of Alienation
Karl Marx’s Theory of Alienation is the assertion that through Capitalist industrial practices, the worker will experience a series of feelings of disconnection from integral parts of the labour process and ultimately, from humanity itself. I will argue that this theory will be relevant as long as the reign of Capitalism dominates modern society. Marx advocates that the only way alienation can be alleviated is through the destruction of the current economic base which he predicts is an inevitable gravitation towards a classless, stateless society known as socialism. In order to fully grasp Marx’s theory, we must first delve into two accounts of alienation from Hegel and Feurbach.
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Marx outlined four aspects of alienation in relation to working amidst the free market. The first is alienation from the labour process. The worker is under the illusion that they are free to work for whoever they wish and are free in their decision as to how they work. However, once the worker agrees to their contract, they are coerced into following a set of rules that will dictate how they should work. Under Capitalism, work is external to the worker and does not allow one to unleash creative expression, a component which Marx thought to be central to the human condition. The worker has no say over what is produced or how it is produced and the products they expel have little relation to their needs. According to Marx in Capital; “the worker, therefore, only feels himself outside of work and in his work feels outside himself. He feels at home when he is not working and when he is working he does not feel at home.” An example of such working conditions would lie in Henry Ford’s assembly line, where the worker is controlled to the extent that their bodily movements are dictated by mechanic force. Due to the worker having no input as to how their work can be exerted, they are said to be alienated from the labour process, a phenomena which can be seen in all walks of Capitalist production in the modern world (Allen, K. 2012). Secondly, Marx’s Theory of Alienation pertains to alienation from the