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Of these, labor is important; because capital without labor is dead! Alienation of labor was envisaged by Karl Marx. Subsequently when communist philosophy became…
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Order 311845 Topic: K. Marx "selected writing" Introduction:
Any student of economics knows that land, labor, capital and organization are the four factors of production. Of these, labor is important; because capital without labor is dead! Alienation of labor was envisaged by Karl Marx. Subsequently when communist philosophy became intensely popular all over the word, principles of the alienation of labor was hotly debated and remedial measures were taken by the Communist countries to upgrade the economic conditions of labor. Its success was short-lived and the concept has changed much. The philosophy itself is in peril. “…most people today would probably say that Marxism’s day is over, that Marx’s ideas have been proven empirically false and morally bankrupt, and that it is time to sweep away the remnants of Marx’s influence into the “dustbin of history.”(Introduction, ix)
So, the ardent supporters of the cause of the labor had to revise their strategies, though lip-service continues to be paid to the ideology from different platforms even now. For Marx, labor is a commodity and needs to be evaluated thus. When Marx wrote about the alienation of labor, it was the most miserable commodity. Marx categorized the entire society into two classes: those with property and the one without property, who labor.
In the Manuscripts titled “Alienated Labor” Marx deals with the basic causes of alienation. It takes place within the economic system of capitalism. “We now have to grasp the essential connection among private property, greed, division of labor, capital and landownership, and the connection of exchange with competition, of value with the devaluation of men, of monopoly with competition, etc., and of this whole alienation with the money-system,"(59) writes Karl Marx.
The contention of Marx is political economy gives no proper explanation about the foundation of the division between labor and capital and also between capital and land. Interest of the capitalist assumes supreme importance. Another important aspect that eventually hurts the labor is competition. This is a mesmerizing tool with the capitalist that is important in successfully running the business. The other aspect of competition is greed and in the capitalist system it is the war of the greedy and aggrandizement of wealth.
Labor, the “eternal natural necessity which mediates the metabolism between man and nature”, (223) is transformed into an alienated commodity to be bought and sold. With the advancement of the capitalist structure, the labor is denied most of the necessary objects, and the system never compensates him for the volume of labor put forth by him. His product, labor, does not do full justice to him under the compulsion of the circumstances within which he is obliged to operate.
The laborer becomes stranger to his product. The more he labors the more powerful adversary he creates for himself, as he is not benefited in proportion to the volume of his labor. Having created the rich circumstances around him, by which the capitalist stands to gain, he becomes poor. Thus labor is responsible for weaving the circumstances around him, over which he has no control, and finally he reaches a stage wherein he gives in totally. The alienation of the laborer from his product becomes complete, and he becomes the proverbial cog in the wheel. He has created a power that challenges him and does not allow him to progress.
On paper, Karl Marx’s approach to peasant revolution was brilliant and it promised individual dignity to them, apart from economic prosperity. He correctly projected the importance of the proletarian’s existence in the social order. He took the bourgeois social class to task, for manipulating the proletarian. He emphasized the importance of a collective society. He visualized the failure of capitalism under its own weight and looked forward to the success of socialism. After discussing about the alienation of labor and its disastrous consequences for the common man, Marx highlighted the evolution of perfect communism and how it will shape. He categorically stated the 10 characteristics of a capitalistic society evolving into communism.: 1)abolition of land property and rent, 2)a progressive income tax, 3)abolition of all inheritance, 4)confiscation of property, 5)centralization of credit into the state, 6)centralization of communication, 7)state-owned businesses, 8)equal liability to all labor, 9)abolition of difference between town and country, and 10)free education in public schools.(p.175)
Conclusion:
Marx’s theories from alienation of labor to the establishment of a perfect communist society proved to be a paradise of the dreamer! Communism too collapsed due to its inherent contradictions and impracticability. The labor was exploited by the ruling class of the Communist States.
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Works Cited:
Marx, Karl (Author), Simon, Lawrence H (Author).Selected Writings: Hackett Publishing Company.1994 Read More
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