alienation for Marx
Alienation in Estranged Labor
Alienation from productive activity
The worker has no say in how their productive activity is used, it is at the mercy of the capitalist.
Alienation from the product of their productive activity
Consider a factory worker. A factory worker produces items each day at work, but they do not have any control over this product.
Alienation from other human beings
By being forced into a labor market, a person is forced into competition instead of cooperation with other human beings, making each person a team of one, creating a “dog eat dog” world, and workers collectively race to the bottom as a result.
Alienation from potential for creativity and community with other human beings
Being forced to work, alienated from one’s community every day means that individuals cannot as easily pursue their own interests and goals, and must sacrifice that for the sake of simply having to survive.
Alienation in Capital
Thinkers like Althusser believe that Marx gave up alienation by the time Capital was written. However it is my opinion that alienation is actually one of the core ideas of Capital. Marx mentions commodity fetishism in the first chapter, which itself is a more specific kind of alienation. Further, everything Marx describes; wage labor, working conditions, etc. all describe a kind of alienation.