KarlMarx explains in his manuscript of the ‘Estranged Labor’ about the division ofsociety into two classes when speaking of private ownership. We have the propertyowners known as the bourgeoisie and the proletarians, the workers who do the laborwork under the bourgeoisie’s commands. The proletarians not only feel like theyhave crossed the poverty line but also feel isolated and excluded from theworld they live in. The separation or estrangement that they feel comes fromtheir assigned labor work. When manufacturing these products for the bourgeoisie,they spend hours and days working on products that they do not have privateownership over and watch the products disappear into the world they feelexcluded from. Proletarians feel as if they give so much to the world and norecognition is acknowledged.
They begin to feel “smaller’ as more productsare manufactured by them. Another estrangement mentioned in the manuscript wasthat the work or activities itself that the proletarians do are making themfeel excluded as well. They have no possession over the activities they carryout. The goal they are accomplishing from working is not for their enjoymentbut because they want to be able to survive and support their families.
Theyhave no choice but are forced by the bourgeoisie to perform these activities.It is more of a life and death situation in a way when you think about it.These type of labor work make the proletarians feel as if they are losingthemselves when they should be finding themselves and devoting themselves towhat they truly and naturally care for. As the proletarians continue in thisline of work and manufacture more products, they feel as if they are losingtheir self identity.
The purpose of life is to do the work you enjoy because you give all your timeand dedication to it, it is what you are functioned to do as a human and it iswork that you can call ‘yours’. Work is considered the building block of life, what you are trulymade of. Transforming nature into products and objects that you use today isthe core of what an individual does and can do. However, the proletarians feel separatedor excluded from this form of identity since they are forced into labor and nottheir natural extinct telling them that they should do it.
Another important estrangementis the separation of man to man which basically means that there is nointeraction or connection between the proletarians and the bourgeoisie becausethey are from two different classes. Since the bourgeoisie own the productsthat the proletarians make, they have more power and therefore, the workers thinkof the owners as more intimidating and aggressive individuals and mustdisregard them. The workers feel like they are excluded from any form ofprivate ownership in the economic system because they are not gaining anythingfrom it. Only wealth and status is benefiting the bourgeoisie when it comes to manufacturingthese products. The worker’s sense of identity and their completeness as a humanbeing is beginning to vanish and will continue to as long as bourgeoisie havethe power over private property ownership. The proletarian’s disappointmentabout this estrangement has got them against the bourgeoisie or as we shouldcall them, the capitalists. Marx describes these concepts from a philosophicaland abstract perspective where he explains how natural substance transitionsinto physical objects which is a method that is essential to self-identity andhumans as a whole.
Marx’s curiosity in the economical systems, the way theproletarians feel and the way they are treated are evident in his manuscript ofthe ‘Estranged Labor’.