The Role Of Alienation In Capitalist Society According To Karl Marx

1339 Words 6 Pages
According to Karl Marx, alienation is the separation of propertyless workers from objects, themselves, other men, and the rest of the world. Alienation in capitalist society takes away the general essence of what it means to be human and replaces it with a void or distance, unable to be filled without capitalism’s reversal. Marx focuses on three major relationships of this alienation: that between worker and product, man and himself, and man and man. In capitalist society, the worker labors long hours over products, thus putting part of himself into these objects. One would expect this to create a sense of attachment to these objects, but, because the objects are made for someone else’s possession, “the objects confront [the worker] as something …show more content…
Alienation also causes the division of labor into subgroups that work on tedious and redundant tasks in factories. This “deprives the work of any interest,” separating man from himself (Capital, 409). Having people do many small jobs increases the productivity, but it calls for a lot of people to work, and therefore makes, “overpopulation a necessity of modern industry” (Capital, 424). It would be rational to think since there are so many people that they would be able to work together, but even still workers are separated from one another: “Laborers are isolated persons who enter into relations with the capitalist but not with one another” (Capital, 386). This large quantity of workers originally hold some power in their ability to create, but that is taken away and alienated from them when he, “bargains for [his products] sale with the capitalist” (Capital, 386). Having so many employees working on machinery that produces large amounts of goods also leads to surplus value which is a problem in itself (Capital, 405). Surplus value is, “the end aim of capitalist production.” That is, “to exploit labor power to the greatest possible extent” (Capital, 385). We have already established that alienation leads to estranged labor, but this estranged labor leads to wages, a sort of middleman between needs and the satisfaction of them (Economic, 80). Since people work for their, “final result to be money,” and not to actually use the good produced, the objects that he labors over are made solely to be exchanged for something else, whether that be currency or another object (Capital, 328). This alienation between need and solution also adds to excess labor and the separation of the people who own the object and who make

Related Documents

Related Topics