Free Essay About The Theory Of Alienation
Working in a factory is one of the toughest jobs one has to do in life. It denies you the freedom to express your talent and creativity, as you have to do the same tasks every day. As a factory worker, I hardly have any role in deciding what to do or how to do it; all I have to do is follow instructions whether I agree with them or not. Factory labor is a very tiring job, as I have to do most of my work manually. The nature of the job demands that I forsake some of my interests and dreams in life and adopt a hard life. I have to accept my position as a pawn and faithfully give my all for the sake of the ‘king’. I would love to work in an environment where I am free to express myself, a place where my opinion counts and my humanity is respected; but this is what I have, I have to make a living and go through the same motions every day hoping that one day I will find a break and live my dream.
According to Karl Marx alienation, occurs in four different ways. The first way in which alienation occurs is alienation of the worker from the work. In this form of alienation, the value of the product is neither determined by the producer nor the consumer but by the capitalist class who not only directs the manual labor but also the controls the intellectual labor. The capitalist class “factory management” has the power of dictating the actions of both the skilled and non-skilled laborers to extract products that suits his demand. He convinces the values the labor in the “concept of work” or “job” in which the laborers are paid in wages, which are normally the lowest possible. The cycle of exploitation of the laborers continues over time as the little wages deny them the freedom to dictate their path. The factory workers are fully dependent on their wages and chained to the exploitive system. The management pays the workers the least amount of money that will satisfy their needs and keep them at the factory. The management and directorate of the factory are the major beneficiaries of the labor while the laborers revolve around the same place doing the same tasks for a significant part of their lives. The second type of alienation is alienation from working (the act of producing). In this form of alienation, the laborer is denied the psychological satisfaction of a job well done. The only value he gets from his work is the salary or wages. In a factory setting, the worker is just like a machine going through the endless repetitive motions that produce quality products. Despite being a key player in the manufacturing of these goods, he lacks the power of dictating how the goods will be used. This trend mostly affects the skilled laborers. Despite their efforts in determining the production process and designing the products their ability to determine the purpose of their products is minimal. The worker is denied the right to consume the goods or receive a compensation equal to the value of the goods he produces. The worker lacks the psychological benefits of having achieved something by creating a product. His value is reduced to that of a machine or tool that is used in the production process; they get what is enough just to keep them going. The third type of alienation that occurs is alienation from himself. A human being should always be a part of what he does. He needs to be connected to his work he is doing cognitively and emotionally. If that connection is lost, then he just goes through the motions without being part of it. This connection comes only if the laborer perceives that his ideas and actions in a factory are useful and valuable. In many cases in a factory setting, the laborer might lose the connection with his work as he fails to get the real value of his labor. The laborer needs to objectify his intentions in a factory and translate those intentions into finished products. If the management of the factory denies the laborers the freedom to decide, they kill the connection between laborer and his work and just like a machine he goes through the motions to complete his tasks. His performance is low as he does just what is enough to keep his job. In a capitalistic setup, the laborer’s efforts are reduced to be of the same value as a commodity. The human value of a laborer fades away as his economic value increases. The factory no longer values the individual but the profits he makes for the company. This move promotes a spirit of competitiveness in a factory. Workers struggle to become the best in different fields and gradually lose the human value for each other. The factory struggles to create a competitive labor market by raising the wages of the well performing laborers. It increases tensions between laborers as they struggle to gain become better than the rest of their co-workers. It creates a situation where the laborers lose the human value for each other.
Marx’s theory of alienation is an ideal representation of the labor market in most parts of the world. It covers different ways in which workers are exploited serving the interests of the few capitalists. The theory explains how workers lose their ability to determine their destiny and are chained to the systems created by their masters. Their dependence on the little wages they get for their labor gradually robs them an important aspect of their humanity and they accept their position as lower beings. They trade their autonomy as human beings for mere wages and allow themselves to be controlled by the bourgeoisie whose interest is to serve his greed. Marx’s theory of alienation is an eye opener that encourages workers to take charge of their lives and reclaim their dignity as human beings.