Question: Explain the types of alienation that
Marx mention and what is his solution for this problem?
Answer: In his manuscripts, Marx’s main
discussion is about the alienation. There are four types of alienation that
Marx determined in his “Economic and
Philosophic of 1844”: alienation of worker from his product, from the
producing activity, from the species-being, and from others. In this paper, I
will emphasize on these four types of alienation in Marx’s manuscripts, and
then, will discuss the solution offer of Marx.
When Marx speaks
of alienation, he basically talks about the alienation that occurs to the
workers working under a capitalist system. According to Marx, the industrial
production of capitalism causes the alienation of laboring workers. It is a
relational understanding of capitalist mode of production, that Marx made in
his manuscripts. When Marx discusses the first types of alienation, the
alienation of worker from his product, he focuses on “the relationship of the
worker to production” (Marx, 1978, p. 73). Because workers not having the means
of production have not any control over the products of their labor, they
become alien to their objects of labor. In other words, they become the objects
of their objects of labor.
The second type of
alienation is the alienation that is manifested in the act of production- within the producing
activity itself. What constitutes the alienation of labor, for Marx, is
externality of labor to the worker. In other words, labor does not belong to
worker’s essential being, he does not develop freely his physical and mental
energy. His labor is therefore not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor.
Marx states that the alienation of worker from the production activity means “the
relation of the worker to his own activity as an alien activity not belonging
to him” (Marx, 1978, pp. 74-75).
The third type of
alienation, or the “third aspect of estranged labor” to deduce from the two already
considered, is the alienation of worker from species-being. With the term
“species-being”, Marx means the characteristics of human-being different from
the animals. What differentiate human from the animal is the labor, for Marx.
When the labor become the alienated, the difference between men and animal is
and the last type of alienation is the alienation from others. Alienation from
the others is a direct consequence of the other types of alienation. Marx
states that “an immediate consequence
of the fact that man is estranged from the product of his labour, from is
life-activity, from his species being is the estrangement of man from
man” (Marx, 1978, p. 77). If a man is
confronted by himself, he is confronted by the other man.
What does Marx
offer for a solution to alienation is directly related with the source of
alienation. For Marx, what causes the alienation of worker is the capitalism,
and fundamentally, private property. Marx thinks that the propertyless class,
the workers, produces but do not have their own products. On the other hand,
the products have the workers. Therefore, the abolishment of the private
property, and the communism that provide people to realize themselves is a
solution offer of Marx.