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PHIL 1100 - READINGS - MARX: Alienated Labour

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York University
PHIL 1100
Henry Jackman

Karl Marx – Alienated Labor Page 51 - The more wealth the worker produces, the more his production increases in power and scope, the poorer he becomes - The extinction of value from the world of things is directly proportional to the devaluation of the world of men - Labor produces itself and the worker as a commodity and it does so to the same extent as it produces commodities in general - The object which labor produces – the product of labor – confronts it as an alien being, as a power independent of the producer - Within the political economy, this realization of labor appears as the loss of reality of the worker, objectification appears as the loss of the object and bondage to it; appropriation appears as alienation, as externalization - The realization of labor appears as the loss of reality by the worker to such an extent that he loses reality to the point of starvation. Objectification appears as loss of the object to such an extent that the worker is robbed of the most essential objects, not only for life but also for work. …work itself becomes an object which he can obtain only with the greatest effort … appropriation of the object appears as alienation to such an extent that the more objects the worker produces the fewer he can own and the more he falls under the domination of his product, capital. - …the worker is related to the product of his labor as to an alien object o …the more the worker exhausts himself, the more powerful the alien world of objects ….against himself becomes o ….the poorer he and his inner world become, the less there is that belongs to him as his own - …the greater the product, the less is he himself - The externalization of the worker into his product does not only mean that his work becomes an object, an external existence, but, that it exists outside him independently, as something alien to him, as confronting him as an autonomous power. It means that the life which he has given to the object confronts him as something hostile and alien - The worker cannot create anything without nature o But just as nature furnishes labor with the means of life, in the sense that labor cannot live without objects on which to operate….nature also furnishes the means of life in the narrower sense - The more…the worker appropriates the external world and hence sensuous nature through his labor, the more he deprives himself of the means of life in two respects: o first in that the external world of the senses….ceases to be an object belonging to his labor, a means of life of his work; o second, in that it … ceases to be a means of life in the direct sense, a means of physical subsistence for the worker - in these two respects … the worker becomes a slave to his object - the alienation of the worker in his object is expressed within the laws of political economy thus: Page 52 - the more the worker produces, the less he has to consume; …the better shaped his product, the more misshapen the worker; … the more powerful the work, the more powerless the worker…the more he becomes a slave of nature - political economy conceals the alienation inherent in the nature of labor by not considering the direct relationship between the worker (labor) and production o …labor produces marvels for the rich but it produces deprivation for the worker…it produces intelligence, but imbecility and cretinism for the worker - The direct relationship of labor to its product is the relationship of the worker to the objects of his production - …alienation manifests itself not only in the result, but in the act of production, in the producing activity itself o If the product of labor is externalization, then production must be active externalization, the externalization of activity - What then constitutes the alienation of labor? o …labor is external to the worker … it does not belong to his essential being o The worker … feels himself only outside his work, and feels beside himself in his work. He is at home when he is not working, and when he is working he is not at
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