Marx: Capitalism and Alienation

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By yamin
Words 4333
Pages 18
Karl Marx (1818-83) grew up in Germany under the same conservative and oppressive conditions under which Kant and other German philosophers had to live. The Enlightenment had had some liberating effects on German life here and there, but most German principalities were still autocratic, and the idea of democracy was combated by all their rulers. The presence of police spies at major universities was a regular feature of German student life, and some students served long prison sentences for their political activism. As a law and philosophy student at the University of Berlin, Marx joined a political club that advocated political democracy. Very soon after receiving his doctorate, however, his ideas went beyond mere political reform. His future friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels introduced him to socialist and communist ideas, i. e., to ideas which progressed from mere political to social and economic reforms. For the rest of his life Marx dedicated himself to the project of radically restructuring modern industrial society along socialist and communist lines. In time he became the single most important theoretician and prominent leader of a growing international labor movement.

Since Marx participated in the Revolution of 1848 as an influential newspaper editor (in a revolution that was defeated by the monarchists, and the defeat of which led scores of liberal Europeans to emigrate to the United States and elsewhere), he found it preferable to leave the stifling and backward conditions of his fatherland and to go into exile. He spent the rest of his life in London, the powerful center of advanced capitalism and modern industry. As one of the organizers of the international working class movement he found that most labor radicals had all sorts of moral misgivings about capitalism, and a number of utopian ideas of an ideal society of the future, but no solid…...

Similar Documents

Marx

...KARL MARX Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, sociologist, historian, political economist, political theorist and revolutionary socialist, who developed the socio-political theory of Marxism. His ideas play a significant role in both the development of social science and also in the socialist political movement. Marx's theories about society, economics and politics, which are collectively known as Marxism, hold that all society progresses through class struggle. He was heavily critical of the current form of society, capitalism, which he called the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", believing it to be run by the wealthy middle and upper classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. Marx polemic with other thinkers often occurred through critique, and thus he has been called "the first great user of critical method in social sciences. Fundamentally, Marx assumed that human history involves transforming human nature, which encompasses both human beings and material objects. Humans recognise that they possess both actual and potential selves. Marx had a special concern with how people relate to that most fundamental resource of all, their own labour power.[120] He wrote extensively about this in terms of the problem of alienation. Refers to the......

Words: 1217 - Pages: 5

The Crisis of Capitalism That Marx Predicted Has Failed to Materialize Proving Marx Wrong. Discuss.

...Q: The crisis of capitalism that Marx predicted has failed to materialize proving Marx wrong. Discuss. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a revolutionary as well as a notable thinker; through out his life he worked on politics, economics, philosophy, sociology, class struggle and history but for the most part he dedicated his life to the overthrow of the capitalist order, which he accused as responsible for the degradation and enslavement of the vast mass of its population. Marx was the Co-founder of Marxism(with Engels), the Theory of Surplus Value, alienation and exploitation of the worker, The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, Materialist conception of history. Marx worked on his intellectual work started under the influence of G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) who in the 19th Century Germany was the dominating philosophy. The Young Marx was, during this time, mostly concentrated on criticizing the ideas of political economists and analyzed things from a more humanistic and philosophical point of view. The older Marx had a clear preoccupation with economic analysis and there was again arguably, a disappearance of Hegelian terms in his writings. Marx was straight forward in his approach to capitalism and argued that the capitalist system just like the previous socioeconomic system will inevitably produce internal tensions which will lead to its destruction. Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, he believed socialism will, in its turn, replace capitalism, and lead to a stateless, classless...

Words: 474 - Pages: 2

Marx

... conditions, there would be no puzzle. What is perplexing is less the acceptance of the present reality that one must work to live than the wfflingness to live for work. By the same token, it is easy to appreciate why work is held in such high esteem, but considerably less obvious why it seems to be valued more than other pastimes and practices. That these questions are rarely posed within the field of political theory is also surprising. The lack of interest in representing the daily grind of work routines in various forms of popular culture is perhaps understandable,' as is the tendency among cultural critics to focus on the animation and meaningfulness of commodities rather than the eclipse of laboring activity that Marx identifies as the source of their fetishization (Marx 1976, 164-65). The preference for a level of abstraction that tends not to register either the qualitative dimensions or the hierarchical relations of work can also account for its relative neglect in the field of mainstream economics. But the lack of attention to the lived experience and political textures of work within political theory would seem to be another matter.2 Indeed, political theorists tend to be more interested in our lives as citizens and noncitizens, legal subjects and bearers of rights, consumers and spectators, religious devotees and family members, than in our daily lives as workers.3 And yet, to take a simple example, the amount of time alone that the average citizen is expected to......

Words: 116847 - Pages: 468

Alienation

...workers are unsatisfied with their jobs (BBC News). Alienation can be define as "the state or experience of being isolated from group or an activity to which one should be long or which one should be involve" (Hobson, 2004:16). This essay will analyses whether technology is the major cause of alienation in various industry. It will look in different perspectives; marxism, Blauner, Nicholls and Beynon, Gallie and Zuboff respectively. Karl Marx argues that alienation is an objective state and it is an intrinsic part of capitalist society. Thus, it is an unavoidable (Noon et al, 2013:227). Alienation occurs because "work in industrial capitalist society is the dehumanized opposite of satisfying experience which develops the human capacity for creativity" (Edgell, 2006:29). According to Marx, there are four types of alienation under industrial capitalism. Firstly, product alienation, employees are alienated from product of their labour which is owned by the capitalist and lose control over their product (Noon et al, 2013:227). Secondly, alienation from productive activity. In this type of alienation workers being lost control upon their ability of labouring activity to ensure their being and determine their self-existence (Morrison, 2006:123). A third type of alienation is alienation from human species, from the product and activity alienation incur alienated from their nature species (Edgell,2006:29). Lastly, social alienation, because workers alienated from their normal......

Words: 1262 - Pages: 6

Alienation

...Alienation is a concept that describes an isolated and separated circumstance in the workplace. Browne (2011:380) notes “Alienation is the condition where workers have no job satisfaction or fulfillment from their work”. Alienation could cause some severe consequences. In 2010, thirteen employees, who worked for a Chinese company—Foxconn, committed suicided. (BBC) In this case, it is possible that the suicide event is due to that Foxconn is the assembly line of Apple, which means it is technology employed. Mitra (2010:11) points out that as the technology becomes more sophisticated, the level of alienation, which results from technology, becomes higher. The main purpose of this essay is to examine how far the complexity of the technology employed is the prime cause of alienation in the work place. It will first consider the Marx’s main points about alienation, and it will then compare that to the main ideas of Blauner’s theory. After that, it will analyse Gallie’s thesis of alienation. Marx’s theory indicates that alienation is objective. Which means alienation is there even if the workers do not feel be alienated, and it is physical. Craib (1997:88) disputes that Marxist’s thesis of alienation is the way that human lose their power and are alienated from our world. Edgell (2012) deems that“ For Marx, alienation is rooted in the structure of industrial capitalism”. This shows that capitalism is the significant cause of alienation in Marx’s theory. Moreover, Marxist......

Words: 1640 - Pages: 7

Understanding Marx on Alienation

...Karl Marx was influenced to establish his theory on alienation by his observations of the social, economic and political developments of the industrial revolution during the middle to late nineteenth century. His assertion was that newly founded industrial processes’, which were much different from imperial and feudal societies, isolated workers from their labor under the confines of the capitalism system. Because of the industrial revolution, many workers had to endure low wages, long hours and a substandard working environment under the exacting observation of profit driven owners. Alienation from Marx can be summarized into four different aspects: 1) the alienation of the worker from the product of his labor; 2) the alienation of the worker in the process of production; 3) the alienation of the worker from his creative self; and 4) the alienation of the worker from society (Hodsen & Sullivan, 2007). The worker no longer carries any connection to the product that they produce. Work is carried out in a monotonous and routine process where the worker is focused on a specialization of labor and they have little to no control over the disposition of the product. When a product is produced, he does not own it and only provides tangible goods for the capitalist to sell and make a profit. Products are not a conceived out of desire but rather as a means to an existence and consequently becomes a slave to the object. For Marx, the monotonous redundancy of this labor is......

Words: 1138 - Pages: 5

Alienation of Man

...Alienation occurs when a worker feels his labor is external to him. He feels outside of himself while at work and feels as himself when outside of work. This means that the worker does not feel at home while at work, he feels disconnected. He only feels at home with himself when he is not at work. A worker becomes alienated from his labor and the commodity he is producing when he feels he has no say in the work process. As the worker puts more of himself into the commodity he is making, the more power the commodity begins to have over him. The commodity gains this power because it becoming more valuable, at the same time it is devaluing the worker. The worker puts so much of his time and effort into this commodity that he does not have enough left for himself at the end of the day. The less a worker has for himself, the more animal he becomes. Not only does the worker become more animalistic, there are other ways that a worker can become alienated. Karl Marx identified four aspects of estrangement that come from a worker being alienated. The first two forms deal with the labor process and the object itself. The latter two deal with the worker as a person and his relations. Marx identified the first type of estrangement as the worker being alienated from the work process. This type of alienation comes about when the worker feels he has no say in how his is able to or allowed to work. He is forced to work on his part of the object in a set time frame and is required to do...

Words: 574 - Pages: 3

Marx and Frued

...Abdinasir hussein Soc 401 Professeor Roberts Mid-term paper Freud and Marx will never be forgotten as their legacies carry on through their respective theories. Each of their theories are extensive however, for the purposes of this essay I will compare and contrast their theory regarding freedom and the relationship between the individual and society. Freud and Marx, it can argued were both, as individuals, dissatisfied with their societies. In the process of discussing both Freud’s and Marx’s positions regarding these areas of focus their answers to the following question will be evident and their reasoning explained. Is it possible for human’s to create a society that would not cause so much suffering and, therefore maximize the happiness of all individuals in society? Or in other words, is the desire for freedom and pleasure of the individual irreconcilable with the needs and demands of society? Freud’s response is no. Marx’s answer is yes. In the following paragraphs I will provide a synopsis of Freud’s main argument in Civilization and It’s Discontent and in doing so explicate his support for his answer, then I will do the same for Carl Marx in the Marx / Engels Reader, and lastly I will discuss which theory I find more persuasive and why. Since it is necessary to discuss and define key concepts and terms in order to understand Freud’s support for his answer I will give a synopsis of the book titled Civilization and It’s Discontents. Freud begins this book by......

Words: 2704 - Pages: 11

Alienation

...The Hidden Parts Everything is hidden. One watches the movies, reads the literature and even looks at the arts but does not really look at the true meaning behind all of this. The hidden theme. Alienation. “It is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship” (Kalekin, 1) Many may have heard of Marx theory. Karl Marx, a well known philosopher in the twentieth century went and pursued his calling. “[His] works inspired the foundation of many communist regimes” (“Karl”, 1). Istvan Meszaros clearly states Marx theory on the origination of alienation in a way that no man can ever forget. “It must be made equally clear, however, that such influences are exercised in the dialectical sense of ‘“continuity in discontinuity”’ (Meszaros, 1). There is very much “continuity in discontinuity” in literature, media, and the arts of today. In Mary Shelley’s book, Frankenstein, the hideous ‘monster’ that was created by Victor Frankenstein was frowned upon, fled from, and even abandoned by his own creator. This shows the inhumanity that society shows towards those who are different. “There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies?” (Shelley, 115) The creature had merely a different look, but his emotions and desires were no different than any other human: love, companionship, and a sense of belonging. Many cast him away because his looks rang out evil. "I am......

Words: 1018 - Pages: 5

Capital and Marx

...Critique and Revolution: The Faces of Karl Marx “The nobility of man shines upon us from their work hardened bodies.” (Manuscripts, 100)[1]. And according to Karl Marx, that is the bottom line. In Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and Manifesto of the Communist Party[2], two of his most profound works, Marx outlines both his harsh critique of capitalism and his prophetic theory of impending communist revolution. Although these texts are extremely complex—Manuscripts is described often as the hardest sixty pages of modern philosophy—their main points can be summed up concisely. For Marx, a worker’s labor, and therefore product, is an extension of himself, and any practice that separates the two, most obviously capitalism’s private property, essentially tears the man apart. A system such as this is beyond repair, and the only feasible solution is a forceful and complete communist revolution ending in the destruction of private property and the reunion of mankind with his labor. The complex philosophizing behind these two doctrines will be revealed shortly, but now the question arises, are they consistent? More specifically, do the circumstances that exist under capitalism, as described in his critique, put the world in a realistic position to undergo his desired revolution? Taking his opinions of the world under capitalism as fact, the answer is yes: the desperation of alienation will drive the growing majority of men to unite and revolt. That said, a thorough......

Words: 2067 - Pages: 9

Why Did Marx Believe That Capitalism Was Doomed to Collapse and How Would This Occur?

...23/09/15 Felix Sellers Why did Marx believe that capitalism was doomed to collapse and how would this occur? In order to fully answer this question I believe that first I should define the key word in the title “capitalism.” The OED definition for this word is “an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” The first reason why Marx said that capitalism was doomed to fail was because he subscribed to the idea of historical materialism, this is the theory that material and/or economic conditions are responsible for the structure of law, politics, culture and other aspects of life at that time. He also believed that the driving force of history was the process of the two forces of humanity, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, opposing each other and an eventual higher stage emerging (communism), this is called the “dialectic”. In short, Marx believed that the class struggle which has plagued the entirety of human history can only be brought to an end when comes a “higher stage”, a classless society. Marx also believed that capitalism contained within it the seeds of its own destruction. These “seeds” being the proletariat. This contradiction is routed in private property, something only held by a small minority of the population. Due to the constant drive for increased profit by the bourgeoisie, the labour and skills of the proletariat is reduced to being a mere......

Words: 490 - Pages: 2

Marx

...need of. Marx further explains the four things we are alienated from. Alienation from the object and product, activity itself, co-workers, and objectification are all factors of alienation Marx states are relevant in our day to day lives. Marx describes the term alienation as separating yourself and transferring the idea of self-control to someone else. A great example Marx uses is the alienation from others at work and bosses. Bosses hold a high level of authority at the work place and we alienate ourselves by allowing them to control us. We then develop a hostile and strange relationship. While alienation from object and work place are related, alienation of species being is one that stood out to me the most. Marx describes this one as humans being their own species and exactly what distinguishes us from other beings. As humans Marx believes we do things that are for entertainment purpose and do not necessarily aide in survival. For example art, and hobbies are things we do aside from other beings. However in order to participate in things that make us feel “human” we must have leisure time and without it we are living like animals. In addition to the concept of alienation, Marx introduces the differences between “Realm of Freedom,” and “Realm of Necessity.” Realm of Freedom, is “any activity that us an end in itself,” meaning there is no obligations to being perfect at it. It is something you enjoy doing and is not a must. Contrary, Realm of Necessity, Marx......

Words: 296 - Pages: 2

Karl Marx

...This paper will be about the main elements of Karl Marx’s work, which includes the Paris Manuscripts, which will focus on alienation. The Communist Manifesto, which will focus on Marx’s political and economic theories and Capital Vol. 1., Marx’s final work about how profits are made by the capitalist. Karl Marx was a liberal reformist who believed that capitalism could be reformed and inequality and exploitation of the working classes could be addressed and abolished. (Stones, p.22) . In 1844 Karl Marx wrote and published “The economic and philosophic manuscripts of 1844”, better known as “The Paris Manuscripts.” This was Karl Marx’s first work, where he writes a study about alienation of workers. (Hughes p.27) What does one mean by alienation? Karl Marx states that the alienated person feels a lack of meaning in his life, or a lack of self-realization. (Hughes p.27) “One must understand, he argues, that there are three types of alienation. The first type of alienation is alienation from oneself. The second type of alienation is alienation from his fellow human beings. The third type of alienation is alienation from the world as a whole. These three forms of alienation are interconnected, and Karl Marx describes the connections between them. This is the core of his approach to the problem of alienation (Monthly Review, 2000, p.36-53). An example of alienation does not have to stem from the workplace, however. For example, I know many persons who attend the same church as......

Words: 1241 - Pages: 5

Karl Marx

...February 27, 2012 SOC 200 Karl Marx Growing up in communist Romania in the 70’s and 80’s, deprived of the most basic liberties, as young children we were indoctrinated with communist ideas and schools were used merely as platforms in which curriculum strictly controlled with the purpose of instilling in youth communist principles. Karl Marx’s portrait would hang in every classroom above the old blackboard and his theories were studied and celebrated in every history book, literature book, economics, or any book for that matter. Sociology and Psychology were considered pseudo-sciences under the communist reign and therefore forbidden in schools. As Romanian history books were altered from the truth, describing only his greatest achievements and never the flaws, for the purpose of this project I was rather intrigued to research Karl Marx – I hated him for so many years - and take a really close look at who he actually was, and how he impacted the study of Sociology. I knew that he established the basis of communist ideology, and I have lived for twenty years through the atrocities committed by his followers, but I never really had the interest ( until now) to understand what influenced and drove him into envisioning and writing his proposals for change. Karl Marx was born in 1818 in the German Rhineland (Prussia). He was a philosopher, journalist and economist and even though he produced little that earned him money or recognition......

Words: 1176 - Pages: 5

Capitalism and Society

...Karl Marx and Max Webber both many had many philosophies of the capitalism and its effects on society. Their ideas helped pave the way and expand on theories of previous sociologists. Both men have a deep insight of socioeconomic class in the origins and development of modern capitalism. This paper will analyze the impact of capitalism on society as perceived by both men and the areas in which they agreed, disagreed, and expanded on the ideas of the other. In many ways, the Weberian theory was “rounding out” Marx’s theories, working within the traditions of Marxian (Ritzer, page 26). Weber viewed Marxists as economic determinists who offered single-cause concepts on societal life (27). Marx’s material orientation and its effect on society was something that Weber did agree with completely. Weber had a strong belief that most ideas are what shapes an economy, while Marx believed that it is the economy (and the materials within it, help to define our ideas (27). Weber was said to have taken Marx’s ideas and, “turned Marx on his head” (27). The inverse relationship between Marx and Weber transcends into many tremendous ideas on capitalism and the effects on society. Both sociologists have unique ideas on the driving measures that led to the development and the rise of capitalism. One of Weber’s most famous works called the, Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, dealt with the origins of capitalism and their “ethos”; ideas that are engraved into religious beliefs.......

Words: 1583 - Pages: 7