Social Alienation In Singapore

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In German Ideology, Marx mentioned ‘The class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force’, that is the group which controls the material production can simultaneously structure its mental production so that people who ‘lack the means of mental production’ are subject to it (1846, p. 64). This ruling class aims to dominate the intellectual and educational life of the subordinate classes too so as to convince them of its ruling status and ensure that they adhere to the ruling ideas without undermining the ruling class’s authority. It will also try to present its own interests as ‘the common interests of all the members of society’ and even represent its ideas ‘as the only rational, universally…show more content…
Marx stated that one of the main causes of alienation was division of labour. He wrote in the Communist Manifesto, ’Owning to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, so much so he becomes an appendage of the machine’(1848, p.164). When division of labour (DOL) bounds everyone to a definitive and monotonous activity which is forced on them and that they cannot escape from it, reduces the activities of every man to a simple process and subsequently makes the process the only employment of his life, workers are then alienated from their work and themselves. Nonetheless, Singapore’s economy is extensively characterised by DOL due to the need to produce more efficiently. However, workers are becoming more alienated from themselves and their work. They do not get to decide how and what to produce, which results in ‘the relationship between the worker and to his own activity to be alien and not belonging to him’, as mentioned by Marx in the 1844 Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844, p. 62). Consequently, ‘alienation turns the species-existence of man and his human essence into an existence alien to him’ (1844, p.64), because man who is naturally a conscious species-being can no longer make his own life activity or produce universally and freely from physical needs (1844, p. 64). ‘Alienated labour makes his life activity, his essence, only a means for his existence’ (1844, p.63). Thus, according to Marx, most workers in Singapore will be alienated. If this is so, how can we say that Singapore is advancing forward when the intrinsic human potentials of Singaporeans are hindered
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