For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

References for Theme: Marx on Alienation

  • Marx, Karl
    • Economic-Philosophical Manuscript (1844)
      (p.29) This fact expresses merely that the object which labor produces – labor’s product – confronts it as something alien, as a power independent of the producer. The product of labor is labor which has been embodied inan object, which has become material: it is the objectification of labor. Labor’s realization is its objectification. Under these economic conditions this realization of labor appears as loss of realization for the workers;objectification as loss of the object and bondage to it; appropriation as estrangement, as alienation. So much does labor’s realization appear as loss of realization that the worker loses realization to the point of starving to death. So much does objectification appear as loss of the object that...
    • Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts (1844)
      (p.30) Political economy conceals the estrangement inherent in the nature of labor by not considering the direct relationship between the worker (labor) and production. It is true that labor produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces – but for the worker, hovels. It producesbeauty – but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labor by machines, but it throws one section of the workers back into barbarous types of labor and it turns the other section into a machine. It produces intelligence – but for the worker, stupidity, cretinism.
    • Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts (1844)
      (p.31) For labor, life activity, productive life itself, appears to man in the first place merely as a means of satisfying a need – the need to maintain physical existence. Yet the productive life is the life of the species. It islife-engendering life. The whole character of a species, its species-character, is contained in the character of its life activity; and free, conscious activity is man’s species- character. Life itself appears only as a means to life
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