Karl Marx for Dummies

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In yesterday’s post, I discussed Professor Barry Schwartz‘s recent New York Times article “Rethinking Work.” I concluded that post by noting that no discussion of the nature of work is complete without a consideration of the economic conditions of the society or societies in question. And any such discussion must reflect upon the thought of Karl Marx.

Marx would say that Schwartz was talking about what Marx called alienated labor. The basic idea is that most workers aren’t happy with their work because it does not express or elaborate their being. Workers in modern capitalistic societies are alienated from the process and products of their labor, and ultimately from other people too. They work for money, but derive little satisfaction or meaning from their work. This short video provides an excellent introduction to the basic ideas of Marx’s philosophy. (I also recommend Terry Eagleton’s excellent book, Why Marx Was Right.)

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2 thoughts on “Karl Marx for Dummies

  1. Karl Marx was a economist, true when he teamed up with his friend Engal, he Mark did become more political. He was writing about the downside of the Industrial Revolution Mark two, the German version.

    Yes by the standards of todays society there was a lot wrong, but let us not forget that from many a workers point of view they had swapped a dull and poor working life on someone farmland for a factory job which not only paid more, but was out of the clutches of the squire and the church minister. It was not all that bad from the workers pointy of view.

    Many people make the mistake of a bit like taking a Agatha Christie story, set in a English village in the 1920 tees, and put it in present day New York, and somehow expect it , the story to work.


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