Karl Marx’ Theory of Alienation 4 – Rise up worker? (a story)

Karl Marx’ Theory of Alienation 4 – Rise up worker?

In the 1844 Manuscripts, Marx identifies four dimensions of alienated labour in contemporary capitalist society (MECW 3: 270–282).

Fourth , and finally, immediate producers are separated from their own human nature; for instance, the human capacities for community and for free, conscious, and creative, work, are both frustrated by contemporary capitalist relations.


These changes had scared Worker 2020-AJ. He sat down with his wife and poured his heart out to her. They put some serious thought into his options.

Worker 2020-AJ didn’t have any land so he could farm. Or even enough so they could make a garden and sell preserves or fresh veg and fruit. He didn’t have a building so he could store things and sell them either. He was no guild’s man so he couldn’t make anything anyone would buy. He didn’t even have enough education to move into management. So what were his options? He just couldn’t continue like this. And the factory was the only place that was really employing people in town.

So what could they do? They didn’t even have enough money to relocate if there was a job in another town. Now what? The kids needed shelter, clothing, food…. that stuff.

His wife came up with a solution that he found hard to hear, but it would work. She’d take the kids to her parents and get a job there. He’d move into a bedsit on his own. For a few months, till they could save some money. He’d send money to support them. And look for a job closer to her parents.

It sounded like a good plan. It should have worked too. But there was always something that needed to be paid for. And finding a job for either of them was harder than they thought. It seemed like they were sinking deeper into debt than before.

And he struggled at work, he cried lonely tears at home. And felt sadder each month that went by. His wife barely recognized him on their rare visits. He rarely smiled or laughed anymore. He was no longer the man she had married and trusted to always take care of their family. And neither of them thought he’d return. Her parents were criticizing and mocking the man he had become, rather than supporting the family. And she kind of agreed with them.

Worker 2020-AJ was stuck in the traces. And that didn’t look like it would change any time soon. – the end

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