Karl Marx's Estranged Labor

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In his 1844 essay “Estranged Labor”, Karl Marx provides an in-depth analysis of society, specifically economic circumstances, and his unique interpretation of them. Marx offers what can only be considered as a broadminded perspective towards the two types of population in the social order, the workers and the owners, and defends his points well with metaphor and well-supported arguments. Of the many points he makes, however, one seems to take certain precedence, re-emerging thematically throughout the literature; the concept of alienation. Marx describes the four various types of alienation in detail, and relates them all back to each other. Man is alienated from the world, Marx says, because as a worker, he views his work and the product…show more content…
Additionally, man is alienated from “the act of production, within the producing activity, itself.” Therefore, the argument is made that man, reasonably enough, is aware that his efforts are disingenuous. That is, one is well conscious that they are producing for a means to survive, rather than through their own passion or pursuits. Furthermore, man is alienated from his own human identity. “Man is a species being” Marx writes, “not only because in practice and in theory he adopts the species as his object (his own as well as those of other things), but–and this is only another way of expressing it¬–also because he treats himself as the actual, living species; because he treats himself as a universal and therefore a free being.” This is to say that according to Marx, humans live with a life purpose; that purpose being the transformation of inorganic material into things (“whether they appear in the form of food, heating, clothes, a dwelling, etc.” ) and that this activity defines a person’s being. Finally, man is alienated from his fellow man. The great division that Marx speaks of is between the worker and the owner of course, but also between his…show more content…
Just as the act of production is a persons own property, so too is the sense of self. Man, to his own peril, “creates his own production as the loss of his reality as his punishment; his own product as a loss, as a product not belonging to him; so he creates the domination of the person who does not produce over production and over the product. Just as he estranges his own activity from himself, so he confers to the stranger an activity which is not his own.” Therefore, it is these two separate but related concepts of alienation that are able to most completely describe the apathy of Marx’s “worker

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