An analysis of karl marxs concept of alienation

In the "Comment on James Mill"Marx explained alienation thus: Let us suppose that we had carried out production as human beings.

An analysis of karl marxs concept of alienation

Marx is best known for his two unsparing critiques of capitalism. 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 labor. As a result, members of the capitalist economy find themselves divided into two distinct classes: 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.

Like many other philosophers, Marx believes that excellently doing what makes us distinctively human is the true source of fulfillment. The general idea of alienation is simple: Something is alienating when what 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. So how are workers alienated from their species-being under capitalism?

Marx distinguishes three specific ways. 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 labor. Capitalists need not do any labor 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. Workers do this as laborers, but also as consumers: Whenever laborers buy commodities from capitalists, that also strengthens the position of the capitalists.

Marxism and Alienation

Humans produce in response to our needs; but for the proletariat at least, strengthening the capitalist class is surely not one of those needs. Workers are alienated from the act of labor.

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 want to work, but it is not suitable for human beings. The worker therefore only feels himself outside of work, and in his work feels outside himself.

He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at home. Insofar as capitalism prevents us from realizing our own species-being, it is, quite literally, dehumanizing. Conclusion One may find great inspiration in the idea that true fulfillment can come from creative and meaningful work.

It is a matter of scholarly debate to what extent this progression in his thinking represented a substantive change in his position, or merely a shift in emphasis.

Of course, Marx was writing long before the development of an extensive service sector characteristic of late capitalism. Nevertheless, by tweaking some of the language, his general analysis can also be applied to service industries in capitalist economies.

It is just because of this that he is a species being. But Marx believes that the bourgeoisie experiences its own form of alienation:Article shared by. Essay on Marx’s Concept of Alienation – The concept of “alienation” has become very popular in modern literature, political philosophy, existentialist philosophy, psycho analysis, psychology and sociology.

In the writings of Marx, alien­ation is a principal term, and hence it has dominated the history of sociological thought.


AN INTRODUCTION TO MARX'S THEORY OF ALIENATION. The concept of alienation is a central but controversial aspect of Marxism.

When Marx's key work on alienation, 3 Marx was not the first to develop an analysis of human alienation. Marx's philosophical predecessor, Hegel, saw alienation as part of the development of the human mind. Sociology Essay – Assessment 1 Q.

Outline and assess Marx’s concept of Alienation Alienation, a concept that became widely known during the 19th and 20th century has been looked at extensively by a number of leading theorists.

Alienation is an idea developed by the young Marx in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and later developed in his critique of political economy in . THE CONCEPT OF ALIENATION IN THE EARLY WORKS OF KARL MARX Oliver Christ, Dr.

Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, School of Management and Law Winterthur Abstract The main analysis of alienated labor was developed by Karl Marx in his early work Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts from Marx.

Karl Marx (–) is best known not as a philosopher but as a revolutionary, whose works inspired the foundation of many communist regimes in the twentieth century.

An analysis of karl marxs concept of alienation

exchange, profit, etc. — are ultimately derived from an analysis of the concept of alienation. Consequently each category of alienated labour is supposed to be deducible.

Refuting Marx on Alienation - Rational Standard