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Karl Marx Alienation

When people become foreign to the world they are living in, we begin to create a cycle of alienation. Marx’s theory of alienation describes the estrangement of people from aspects of their human nature as a consequence of living in a society stratified into social classes. We separate actions that belong together and break down production into the simplest of tasks so that the people who are working are distanced from the end product. The process of alienation may increase profits, but at what cost. Yes, it increases profit, but it decreases the humanity of the workers.

A worker is alienated by his employer. He can be alienated from himself, from the other workers and from working in itself. The people that benefit from the process of alienation are the bosses; they get satisfaction and profits from the final product while the worker gets minimal pay and no satisfaction. A worker alienated from himself is often directed how to do his job. The worker loses the opportunity to create, to be involved with the production, and to do what they desire. The worker is only there to do what the boss says and to make the boss money.

This is done by making the tasks that each worker does miniscule and almost irrelevant. By doing this they no longer need skilled workers, and are able to hire anyone and pay way less in wages. The wages are able to be so low, because of the simplicity of the task the worker is performing. As a worker who only puts a screw into a car for example, you are not involved in the production process and you are heavily separated from the finished product. Yes that one screw is important for the final product, but anyone can put in the screw, thus making the worker replaceable.

Workers create things for the market but not for themselves. The workers do not control things; they themselves are the ones being controlled. The bosses have full control of the production and maintain power in the workplace. Work then becomes suitable for machines and not for the people. The work becomes monotonous and tiresome. With this system people often leave work depressed; they don’t want to go to work and they separate themselves from work. They earn money to survive however they don’t earn enough money to purchase what they produce.

A worker alienated from other workers is done so by a boss who only cares about production. An emphasis is put on the task at hand and only the task at hand. There are often ramifications for doing otherwise. A boss does not care about the fostering of relationships between workers, but instead actually puts forth rules and regulations to prevent such. These can include rules such as “no talking on the production line” to “focus” and “stop talking”, and can also include bosses encouraging workers not to have relationships.

Lastly a worker can be alienated from working. A boss gives a worker a simple monotonous task to do, such as soldering a part, and they are separated from the whole product. They do not get satisfaction from what they do because while they completed a task, but it does not allow them to actually see any progress on the product. The worker created a part of the product; he is not involved in the whole. The reason that workers face the struggle of alienation is the capitalistic society. Bosses use a capitalistic mode of production to increase profit.

Because of this we alienate people from their human nature, thus almost making the workers not human, and depleting their determination for success. The cycle of alienation is closely related to super and infrastructure. Infrastructure is everything to do with production; it is people’s relations to production, everything that is needed to produce, the machines, the land, the raw materials and such. Superstructure is everything not to do with production in society, which means it is the education, religion, politics, and media of society that a person interacts with.

Infrastructure and superstructure are very closely related infrastructure shapes the superstructure while superstructure maintains and legitimates the infrastructure. The infrastructure basically refers to the base of the system and marks or defines us as the relationship of people to the means of production. The infrastructure is due to the owners wants for the biggest profit there is. To make more profit, a large amount of mechanization and developments occur in the workplace forcing more and more people into waged labor. The act of forcing more and more people into waged labor, once again starts the cycle of alienation.

Both superstructure and infrastructure are of social creation, they are due to social processes and interactions between people and society. They are caused by interactions between people who are constantly evolving. This being said neither superstructure or infrastructure are naturally occurring, they change and evolve just a society nor the people in society do. This idea of infrastructure superstructure and its relation to alienation is how things change in society. Those who are in charge of the infrastructure, the business owners, the rich and the wealthy are those who most influence the superstructure.

They are the ones with the money, with the power and with the say. If they need a governmental idea or law changed to increase their profits or to make the production of their production easier they use their power and money to do such. Doing such they are using money and power to change laws and to change the way society works and runs, thus changing the superstructure. Having those in charge of the infrastructure also highly influenced the superstructure keeps the cycle going to keep them in charge. A good example of this is the bailout of the banks.

Those higher up, and in charge with the money and power needed help. They used their power to get such, thus creating a bailout for the banks. The bank executives used their power in the infrastructure to influence and change the laws of the superstructure for everyone. The reason this is such is because it was not the popular opinion of society, it did not help all of society, and it helped the banks. This style of working, in this capitalistic mode, destroys the workers. Luckily for the bosses, as they are unskilled and they are easy to replace.

This process of alienation is a cycle for the workers. The bosses pay you little to nothing for the alienated simple task labor that you do, because you make so little money you will never be able to afford the items that you are making. Since the boss pays the workers so little, he is able to make a large profit. Simply put the workers work for nothing to make the bosses a lot of money. This cycle leaves workers with a sense of exclusion and separation, but it also leaves them to feel like they did not produce the product.

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