Esprit Rock

Karl Marx has been dubbed as one of the most prolific and influential thinkers of the nineteenth century

Karl Marx has been dubbed as one of the most prolific and influential thinkers of the nineteenth century. He advocated the creation of a classless society that would be guided through proper democracy and equality. In essence, Marx criticized the capitalist system as an order in which the powerful firms have gained considerable power and clout. He argued that workers are treated as commodities under this system. The theory of alienation argues that workers are disenchanted with their work because it is controlled and supervised by hierarchies of managers and supervisors. The individual creativity and freedom has been stifled in the name of efficiency and effectiveness. Furthermore, Marx argues that the abject poverty of workers means that they cannot live in prosperous conditions. Michael A. cites that the capitalist system reaps tremendous profits but gives low wages to its workers. Marx also believed that alienation resulted in workers being suspicious of each other due to the competitive nature of capitalism. Finally the workers are instructed to perform specific tasks which are against the intrinsic nature of humanity. This nature helps them to attain creativity and design robust challenges to new problems. This essay seek to analyse the four types of alienation that are observed in Marx’s theory.
For Marx, the idea of the means of production is a crucial economic category. The means of production include nearly everything needed to produce commodities, including natural resources, factories, and machinery. The key element not included as part of the means of production is labour. In a capitalist economy, as opposed to a communist or socialist economy, the means of production are privately owned, as when a businessperson owns a factory. As a result, members of the capitalist economy find themselves divided into two distinct classes: those who own the means of production (the capitalist class3 or bourgeoisie) and those workers who do not (the proletariat).
For Marx, whether capitalism and its class-division is a suitable arrangement for human beings depends on human nature. Because humans are biological beings, and not merely free-floating immaterial minds, we, like all other biological beings, must interact with and transform the natural world in order to survive.4 But what distinguishes us from all other animals, like bees, spiders, or beavers, which all transform the world based on instinct, is that we transform the world consciously and freely.5 Thus, the essence of a human being – what Marx calls our species-being – is to consciously and freely transform the world in order to meet our needs. Like many other philosophers, Marx believes that excellently doing what makes us distinctively human is the true source of fulfilment.
We can now make clear Marx’s claim that capitalism is alienating. The general idea of alienation is when is (or should be) familiar and connected comes to seem foreign or disconnected. Because our species-being is our essence as human beings, it should be something that is familiar. To the extent that we are unable to act in accordance with our species-being, we become disconnected from our own nature. So if work in a capitalist society inhibits the realization of our species-being, then work is to that extent alienating. And since we are being alienated from our own nature, alienation is not merely a subjective feeling, but is about an objective reality.
Workers are alienated from other workers. In a capitalist economy, workers must compete with each other for jobs and raises. But just as competition between businesses brings down the price of commodities, competition between workers brings down wages. And so it is not the proletariat who benefits from this competition, but capitalists. This is not only materially damaging to workers, it estranges them from each other. Humans are free beings and are able to not only transform the world themselves, but to cooperate in order to transform the world in more sophisticated and helpful ways. As such, they should see each other as allies, especially in the face of a capitalist class who seeks to undermine worker solidarity for its own benefit. But under capitalism workers see each other as opposing competition.
Workers are alienated from the products of their labour. Capitalists need not do any labour themselves – simply by owning the means of production, they control the profit of the firm they own, and are enriched by it. But they can only make profit by selling commodities, which are entirely produced by workers. Thus, the products of the worker’s labour strengthen the capitalists, whose interests are opposed to that of the proletariat. Workers do this as labourers, but also as consumers: Whenever labourers buy commodities from capitalists that also strengthens the position of the capitalists. This again stands in opposition to the workers’ species-being. Humans produce in response to our needs; but for the proletariat at least, strengthening the capitalist class is surely not one of those needs.
Callinicos, A says workers are alienated from the act of labour. Because capitalists own the firms that employ workers, it is they, not the workers, who decide what commodities are made, how they are made, and in what working conditions they are made. As a result, work is often dreary, repetitive, and even dangerous. Such work may be suitable for machines, or beings without the ability to consciously and freely decide how they wa