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Chapter

Estranged Labor.doc


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHIL 2074F/G
Professor
Rodney Parker

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Estranged Labor
From political economy itself, using its own words, we have shown that the worker sinks to
the level of a commodity, and moreover the most wretched commodity of all.
Political economy proceeds from the fact of private property. Political fails to explain the
reason for the division between labor and capital.
Exchange appears to political economy as an accidental fact.
The only wheels which political economy sets in motion are greed, and the war of the
avaricious--competition.
Because political economy fails to grasp the interconnections within the movement, those
political economist conceive competition, craft freedom, and division of landed property as
only accidental, deliberate, violent consequences of monopoly, of the guilds, and of feudal
property, and not as their necessary, inevitable, and natural consequences.
Political economy assumes the necessary relationships for example, between the division of
labor and exchange as facts and events.
The worker becomes poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases
in power and extent. The devaluation of the human world grows in direct proportion to the
increase in value of the world of things.
The worker is related to the product of labor as to an alien object. According to this premise,
the more the worker exerts himself in his work, the more powerful the alien, objective world
becomes which he brings into being over against himself, the poorer he and his inner world
become, and the less the belong to him. The greater his activity, therefore, the fewer objects
the worker possesses.
The externalization of the worker in his product means not only that his labor becomes an
object, an eternal existence, but that it exists outside him, independently of him and alien to
him, and beings to confront him as an autonomous power.
The estrangement of the worker in his object is expressed according to the laws of political
economy in the following way:
The more the worker produces, the less he has to consume; the more value he creates, the
more worthless he becomes; the more his product is shaped, the more misshapen the worker;
the more civilized his object, the more barbarous the worker; the more powerful the work, the
more powerless the worker; the more intelligent the work, the duller the worker and the more
he becomes a slave of nature.
(product is the result of production)
Political economy conceals the estrangement in the nature of labor by ignoring the direct
relationship between the worker and production.
The direct relationship of labor to its products is the relationship of the worker to the objects
of his production.
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