What Does Marx Mean by Alienation? Do You Find His Account Convincing?

Topics: Karl Marx, Capitalism, Marxism Pages: 4 (1466 words) Published: January 16, 2006
What does Marx mean by alienation? Do you find his account convincing?

To begin with I am going to take the definition of alienation from Microsoft's Encarta (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary), to give a basic outline of alienation and then I will discuss Marx's alienation and then later on in the investigation I will see how similar Marx's application of "alienation" is.

Encarta defines alienation as, 1. estrangement: the process of causing somebody to become unfriendly, unsympathetic, or hostile, or somebody's estrangement from or unfriendly attitude toward somebody else 2. withdrawn state: a feeling of being isolated or withdrawn, or of not belonging to or sharing in something. This led me on to ask, what does Marx apply the term of alienation to? From that point onwards in reading numerous passages of Marx I found that there are numerous ways that alienation can be applied from an interpretative view to numerous accounts of Marx's work. So barring the Encarta definition and my own probes into various pieces of Marx I have decided to stick to what Marx himself has stated as alienation – and how it works according to Marx.

In the Economic And Philosophic Manuscripts 1844(The Marx – Engels Reader) Marx first mentions alienation in the following statement,
"The less you are the, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life the greater is the store of you estranged being" Here I think the most important part is the word "express", because in terms of life each person wishes to express themselves to their maximum limit. I think that no one wants to have a "store" of isolated being, because it would mean that one is holding something back.

Marx then goes on to say about alienation that,
"Everything the political economist takes from you in life and humanity, he replaces for you in money and in wealth, and all the things you cannot do your money can do" Here we see the substitute for lack of...

Bibliography: Thomas Sowell, Marxism, Georg Allen & Unwin, 1985
Marx Engels, The German Ideology, Lawrence & Wishart, 1970
Robert Tucker, The Marx – Engels Reader, Norton,1978
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