The and replaced it with workers who are played

The third aspect of alienation evolves
from the first two: because workers do not have control over the product of
their labour and they don’t have control over the production process then they
also have no control over how they relate to one another. The antagonisms that
inevitably arose from the class structures of society have forced this type of
alienation: we are alienated from those who exploit our labour and control the
products we produce. We no longer see each other as “fellow-men having equal
rights, but as superiors and subordinates” (Fischer & Marek, 1996), we see people “through
the lens of profit and loss – people’s abilities are converted into the means
of making money and so other humans are our competition” (Caudwell, 1965). Living in a capitalist society has
meant that workers are constantly in competition with one another, there are
more people in the world than there are jobs but everyone is fighting for
survival so we are all each other’s competition. This type of alienation is
beneficial to capitalists because they can exploit workers by worsening
conditions and salaries yet workers will still want to work for them because
they need money. Ultimately, in this society we are related to one another as
relations of productions not as individuals so “we do not know each other as
individuals but as extensions of capitalism: in bourgeois society capital is
independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependant and has
no individuality.” (Ollman, 1996). Therefore, we have lost the feeling of
unionism and solidarity that existed in the feudal society and replaced it with
workers who are played off against each other, working in poor conditions and
with bad salaries fighting for survival and estranged from their fellow
workers.

 

The last aspect of alienation is the
estrangement from one’s human nature: alienation from our “species-being”. For
Marx, our species-being is what distinguishes us from all other animals: we are
able to create and change our world and doing this, we have changed who and
what we are. Therefore, unlike other animals we are not merely subject to
nature, we change nature. Therefore, people have the capacity to undertake
activity with an imagination of how that activity will go and what its end will
look like. Marx thought that the essence of humanity is found in its capacity
to create and produce even if there is no need but this essence is lost in a
capitalist society because our labour is coerced. Under capitalism, humans are
therefore alienated from their species-being because they are forced to work
and produce for reasons other than the fulfilment of creative, social
production leading to humans feeling most free in their animal activities and
least free in what is distinctly human – working. People’s lives thus become
animalistic in look and feel because people stop thinking of themselves as
conscious beings. Capitalism has coerced people into pursuing private interests
and working only in order to meet the needs of survival. This has led to
collectivism and solidarity being submerged under private ownership and class
divisions whereby people merely care about profits rather than shaping their
own nature. Therefore, we no longer have the ability to control the
consequences of our actions and the system ends up controlling us ultimately
leading to us being alienated from our species-being. 

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