Karl Marx Alienation

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Karl Marx (1818-1883), the significant revolutionary thinker, historian and philosopher of the 19th century is best known for his critique of capitalism. As a philosopher, his ideas became very relevant at that time due to the rise of industrialization in Europe. Marx began to become politically and socially active as he was influenced by the thoughts of Hagel, which started to shape his political philosophy. His activities as a thinker produced many significant works, which historians categorize into three different parts, his writings in the early years, mid years, and later years. Historians distinguish between the different time periods of his writings because it shows the philosophical progression in his work. In his early times of writing,…show more content…
Additionally, for Marx, alienation is one of the main reasons why capitalism leads to communism. In the capitalist context of the 19th century, work was alienated. Labour was treated as a commodity, in the sense that workers were exploited to produce as much as possible for as little as possible so that the bourgeoisie could continue to make profit while the proletariats lived and worked in poor conditions. This lead to the alienation of the working class as they felt a disconnection from what they did all day and who they really are. To Marx, alienation is dangerous in a society because it denies workers “their human, creative origins” (Hampsher-Monk 1992: 499). A flaw that Marx sees in capitalism is that for the working class, work is very specialized, meaning that a worker only needs one set of skills to produce in a factory. The ruling class view specialization as a positive, since for them it translates to high efficiency and productivity which yields a higher margin of profit. Due to specialization, Marx argues that the worker does not reach their fullest potential in life, and therefore perceives capitalism to be an unfair economic system (Hancock 1971: 65). Moreover, Marx viewed “human beings as essentially social” and because humans are social, work should be “within a context of social relations” (Sayers 2011: 81). Although due to the reality of how capitalism functions, it constraints the labourer…show more content…
The way Marx envisioned how working conditions may be bettered in a communist world is that the labourers should work in a social relations context so that they feel comfortable performing their jobs (Sayers 2011: 81), rather than working only to feed their stomachs. If this is achieved, then alienation would not be an issue anymore, because then, the workers would be in control of their time rather than being exploited. In the past, history has proven time and time again through the 1848 Revolutions, and the Communist revolutions of Russia and Cuba, that due to the alienation of work and inequality, the working class rose up against the class of the bourgeoisie. In these instances, communism was the only way out of the labourers’ suffrage to live a life where they are in control of their time, instead of living under harsh conditions where they sleep where they work. Overall, there are examples throughout history that indicate that capitalism does eventually lead to communism. Yet, we remain to live in a fractured world in which work is still alienated across the globe. For instance, sweatshops exist in developing countries mainly in Asia, such as Vietnam, Indonesia,
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