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Question: Explain what Marx means by the alienation / estrangement of labor?

08 Oct 2022,10:14 PM


Explain what Marx means by the alienation / estrangement of labor? His paradigm for alienated labor is factory work; do you think his theory applies to other forms of work that are more common in postindustrial societies, e.g. Various forms of office work?

• Your audience is an educated friend who hasn’t read philosophy, but who asks all the questions listed below. This is the kind of friend who will want you to explain in your own words.
• Your audience should be able to answer the following questions after reading your short paper:
1-What’s Marx’s ideal conception of work?
2-How does factory work differ from his idealized conception of work? (Here you will discuss how
the factory worker sells their labor (and not the product of their labor), the simple, repetitive nature of their labor, the lack of initiative and control, etc.)
3-Does his analysis applies to other forms of work we find in post-industrial societies? Here you can discuss a particular example

Expert answer


Marx means that when people work, they can feel like they are not really part of what they are doing. They can feel like their work is making someone else richer, and they are not getting anything back. This can lead to feelings of alienation.


Karl Marx was a German philosopher who lived in the 19th century. He is best known for his ideas about communism, which were laid out in his book The Communist Manifesto.


Marx believed that capitalism, the economic system of his day, was unfair to workers. He thought that the only way to make things fair was to have a communist society, in which there would be no private ownership of property or businesses. Everyone would work together for the common good, and everyone would share in the benefits of their labor.


Marx's ideas inspired many revolutionaries, including Vladimir Lenin and Mao Zedong. But Marx himself never saw his vision of communism become reality. In fact, most communist countries today, such as China and Cuba, are not true to Marx's original ideas. They have governments that control the economy, and they do not allow private ownership of property or businesses.

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