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From a Marxist perspective, assess the claim that work in Capitalist society is both Alienating and Exploitative.

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Introduction

From a Marxist perspective, assess the claim that work in Capitalist society is both Alienating and Exploitative. Marx refers to the dominant ideas, such as capitalism, as a ruling class Ideology. These Ideologies are distortions of reality, a false picture of society, which blinds members of society to the contradictions and conflicts of interest that are built into their relationships. As a result they tend to accept their situation as normal and natural, right and proper. In this way a false consciousness of reality is produced which helps to maintain the capitalist system. Marx believed that under capitalism exploitation is disguised by ideas of equality and freedom. The relationship between capitalist and wage labourer is defined as an equal exchange. The capitalist buys the labour power that the worker offers for hire. The worker is defined as a free agent as he or she has the freedom to choose his or her employer. However, in reality, Marx believed equality and freedom to be illusions endorsed by the capitalist system. The employer-employee relationship is not equal. It is an exploitative relationship, workers are not free, they are forced to work for the capitalist in order to survive. All they can do is exchange one form of slave labour for another. Capitalism is all based around the maximisation of profit. ...read more.

Middle

The use value of the labour force can be explained quite simply, If you were an employer the only point in employing workers would be if they were use value to you, i.e. the value of what they produce for you is greater than what you have to pay them. The difference between the two is surplus value, i.e. the profit gained by the employer. This is a Marxist definition of exploitation, however Marxists would argue that this is not a result of unscrupulous employers, but is built into the wage-labour relationship itself, into the buying and selling of labour. This can be clearly recognised through the following example of my working life. As I work part-time in order to gain a wage, I am working for my employer's profit, I am producing surplus value, and thus I am being exploited. If this were not the case then I would not be employed, thus no one is paid the value of his or her work. This therefore evokes a major class conflict between the employed and the employer, traditionally known as the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Alienation, as well as exploitation, is a natural condition in a capitalist society. "Alienation is a state in which the environment we create takes on real solidity, comes to seem unchangeable-when it takes on what Luckas called second nature. ...read more.

Conclusion

If the student is interested in the course they undergoing and they wish to learn, writing an essay would be work, which comes from the inside, they are motivated from the inside. If a student decides to take a course simply to gain the qualification at the end, then it is a different matter entirely, there is nothing of themselves in the work, the work becomes a burden, and thus, as mentioned above becomes a means to end. Marx believed this to be a permanent condition of capitalism. 3. Since Marx saw labour as a definitive aspect of our species being , he believed that we are therefore alienated from the species and co-workers. We cannot recognise ourselves in any of those around us, we do not see fellow humans but people who might be competing with us for jobs and scarce resources, and we see other people as potential threats. All in all, it is clear that work in a capitalist society, in order to function, in order for profit to be made, the work force must be exploited, thus your are never paid enough for whatever you do. As if you were paid the value of your work there would be no profit. Also due to industrialisation, and mass production alienation is a natural phenomena in any capitalist society, as the aspect of experimentation and freedom to express oneself in the work force is removed. ...read more.

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