Karl Marx and Alienation Essay
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Dec 14th, 2019

Karl Marx and Alienation Essay

Karl Marx in his time was known for his research on the alienation of the employees in the workplace. It was during that time in the Industrial Revolution did Karl Marx publish his book Das Kapital which not only criticized the system of capitalism but also the state of the workers working at long hours and under small amounts of compensation. Alienation for Marx is considered to be a cause of a decrease in productivity and entails to a much larger problem among the working class.

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According to his theory, the worker is subjected to various forms of alienation at the workplace. First one is the alienation to himself. The particular worker in the office would oftentimes consider himself a different person (Marx, 2006). This is brought about by the particular thinking that he alone exists and no one else does. Same can be said for the students in universities who often think a lot, write a lot, and do sorts of things that sometimes, he detaches himself from his inner capabilities.

The student who also experience rejection, failure, and embarrassment is also alienated to himself. For instance, if one student fails a subject although he knows for a fact that he did everything he could just to pass his subject, he would resort to do other things that seem to worth nothing because even if he did what he could, he still failed the subject. This results to certain forms of depression and also sometimes to even suicide.

Another form of alienation that Karl Marx explained is the alienation from other people in the workplace. For example, in particular workplace or office, employees commonly have cubicles wherein they do their jobs throughout the shift not necessarily minding the other people he works with. Applying this form of alienation to students in the university, students often most are alienated from one another in so many ways. First, students are separated from one another in classes in various buildings.

Second, students are, in a particular class, not allowed to interact with one another during a lecture. They are alienated with one another by the existence of that certain notion of fountain of knowledge that most professors have. The fountain of knowledge is that one person acknowledges himself to be the only source of information. This certain act further contributes to the alienation. This is even more substantiated by the pressure the studies bring in the thinking that the only way to get a job is to have a degree in a university. With that particular way of thinking, the recognition of the various forms of intelligence are ignored and only the academic intelligence is recognized.

The last form of alienation that most modern workers experience is the alienation from society. This form of alienation causes the individual to think that he is separate from society and works as an island. Modern office workers experience this by the schedule of their work. For instance, in a lot of business processes outsourcing (BPO) workers, graveyard shifts are a common thing to have. Graveyard shifts are working hours that are not the conventional type of working hours. They work at night when everyone is supposed to be sleeping and getting ready for the next day ahead.

            Students on the other hand, also experience this kind of alienation. First, alienation from their love ones is exhibited by leaving their families to live in dormitories inside the campus and thus learning to live on their own (Salerno, 2004). Second, by having the pressure that not studying enough would cause rejection. This thinking often leads to the reasoning why students are often studying hard at night when everyone else should be resting. Also, student in universities does not want anyone to disturb them and this is explained by the fact that as they are alienated, their behaviour changes as well.


Marx, K., Engels, F., & Jones, G. S. (2006). The communist manifesto. 119 p.

Salerno, R. A. (2004). Beyond the enlightenment : lives and thoughts of social theorists. xi, 242 p.

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