Explain What Marx Means By The ‘Alienation’ Result

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The Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx analyses the division of labour and resulting alienation in the increasingly industrial world. Larger tasks are divided into smaller, individual processes which a specific worker is assigned. Marx states that “each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity ... from which he cannot escape.” This division of labour leads to the work force being alienated from the process of labour. A worker is isolated from the overall process which his efforts contribute to completing, instead being forced into a specialisation. The separation into smaller tasks removes the freedom to be part of the entire process so he becomes ignorant to work performed by other divisions, repeating the same repetitive and monotonous task day in day out. He has no control over his work, instead finding the pace is dictated by machines, other labour divisions, or a superior in control of the overall process. Marx describes work as external to the worker where “he does not develop any free physical or mental energy, [t]he worker, therefore, is only himself when he does not work, and in his work he feels outside himself” (Marx, 1884). The lack of freedom leads to a worker being alienated from his sense of self and spirit. By removing all control over the methods a worker completes his task there is no requirement for creativity which takes away all individualism and conscious thought from the process. This serves to transform the worker into another machine where only his labour is required but any will and conscious input are not. The detachment offers no fulfilment and takes away what Marx describes as man’s “species being”, stating “estranged labour reverses the relationship so that man ... makes his life activity, his being, a mere means for his existence” (Marx, 1884). The division of labour causes the worker to be alienated from
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