Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Time, Workplace, Human Resource Management, Education, Life, Karl Marx, Labor, Socialism

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2021/01/10

In Steven Greenhouse’s “A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift,” the unique nature of part-time work, as well as the ways it is changing in the new global economy, elucidates the greater problem of the shift from full-time to part-time work. Just as full-time workers begin to disappear, companies rely more on having a number of part-time employees they do not have to pay as much, or provide benefits to. However, this leads to substantial problems in terms of a catastrophically low standard of living, and more and more people being unable to make ends meet. The shift towards part-time work is evidence not only of the failure of education to provide adequate job security for the average American worker, but also of the building class tensions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as befitting Karl Marx’s writings on the working class.
The central frustrations of the working class in not being given the ability to realize their destinies closely ties in with the ideas of Karl Marx in his work Alienated Labor. Workers are alienated in several ways under the tenets of capitalism: first, workers are alienated from the fruits of their labor, then they are alienated from the labor process altogether. Next, they are alienated from their own bodies and their potential, and alienated from other workers altogether (Marx). All of these factors contribute to a workforce that does not work to fulfill their own needs, but simply to fulfill the needs of those they work for. In the case of part-time work, these workers are especially alienated from the fruits of their labor, as they are not given enough compensation to truly live and survive. The low wages of part time work “are a direct result of alienated labor, and alienated labor is the direct cause of private property” – by keeping workers fragmented and poorly-paid, they are easier to take advantage of (Marx 7).
The presence of part-time workers at a higher level means that the earlier promise of a college education to help uplift people to a financially secure life is not as true as people might think. While there is a rough corollary between one’s level of education and the greater amount of money one receives, there are substantial variations based on what degree one gets, as well as demographics and specific occupation (Carnevale, Rose and Cheah 2). Furthermore, these optimistic measures are contingent upon workers working full-time, full-year jobs, which is growing more and more impossible in this world of increasing part-time work (22). The optimism and idealism of the American Dream is much harder to achieve when companies would rather hedge their bets on part-time work than investing in full-time workers they must pay more.
The rise of part time work in many important and lucrative industries, such as hospitality and retail, means a rise in alienated labor and a diminished ability for one’s education to directly lead to a better life. While this is more advantageous for the company (more workers working fewer hours means less chance of burnout), it also means they do not have to pay workers as much, thus leading to substantial shortfalls in quality of life for everyone involved. Given the increasing shift in deregulated businesses, and market fluctuations that necessitate lower prices and overhead, the rise of the part-time worker increases this alienation between workers, their products, and their work, and makes it harder for individuals to make a decent living in America.

Works Cited

Carnevale, Anthony P., Rose, Stephen J., and Ban Cheah. The College Payoff: Education,
Occupations, Life Earnings. Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2010.
Greenhouse, Steven. “A Part-Time Life, as Hours Shrink and Shift.” The New York Times Oct.
27, 2012.
Marx, Karl. “Alienated Labor.” From: Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society,
trans. and ed. by Loyd D. Easton and Kurt H. Guddat [Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company (Anchor Books), 1967], pp.287-301.
Weber, M. (1921/1968). Economy and Society. (G. Roth, C. Wittich, Eds., G. Roth, & C.
Wittich, Trans.) Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 956-958.

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WePapers. (2021, January, 10) Essay On Sociology Of Work. Retrieved April 16, 2021, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-sociology-of-work/
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Essay On Sociology Of Work. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/essay-on-sociology-of-work/. Published Jan 10, 2021. Accessed April 16, 2021.
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