Marxism, a Science?

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Marxism, a Science? Empty Marxism, a Science?

Post  John on Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:31 pm

The Economic and Philosophic Manuscript of 1844 maps out Marx's Theory of Alienation in some detail. Marx argues that alienation is a natural consequence of capitalism and identifies four aspects of this conception:
*Alienation of the worker with respect to the product
*Alienation of the worker with respect to working in the sense of a process
*Alienation of the worker from his inherent essence
*Alienation of the worker from other workers

Examples abound; the worker is alienated from the product in that the product is removed and sold for profit. Historically, workers maintained ownership over the product. For example, cordwainers made shoes then sold them at their leisure. Now, the shoe is owned by the capitalist (ownership seems to stem then from the 'means of production' and not from the 'skill' held by the worker, but these terms are obviously related...). Similarly, the shoe-making process has, like everything else, become mechanized. Engagement in learning a specific skill has been supplanted by the pressing of a button, something so simple, even a caveman can do it. Alienation from the self seems to entail a lack of freedom, within historical parameters, to pursue certain ends unencumbered. It appears that within a capitalist system, external constraints are placed on individuals which inhibit such freedom (I am not entirely clear on this characterization, wouldn't the capitalist system just be a 'historical parameter'). Finally, the worker is alienated from other workers in that he or she is placed into competition for wages/jobs against other potential workers. The worker, in a sense, becomes a commodity under control of the capitalist.

Now, assuming this is a reasonably adequate description, what consequences can be derived from alienation?


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