2 VocabularyReactionary (Manifesto, par. 2); see par. 48 for a definitionPlebeian (par. 8)Patrician (par. 8)Burghers (par. 11)Philistine (par. 19)Ossify (par. 23)Vicissitude (par. 34)Estrangement (“Alienation,” par. 9)Cretinism (par. 14)
3 Write for 10 minutes about the story that Marx is telling about politics and economics. Use as many of the following terms as you can.alienation bourgeoisie religion family slavery class struggle revolution base superstructure centralized production slaves/slavery proletariat macroeconomics industrial middle class feudal system social/economic utopia communism oppression world market capitalist object/objectification intellectual creations
4 Group Activity Share what you wrote with others in a small group. Work together to find quotations in the two texts and try to come to a common understanding of what Marx is saying.If you do not understand what Marx is saying, at least try to be clear—and ask questions—about what you do NOT understand.
5 The Story That Marx Is Telling We are now going to discuss—and chart—the ideas that Marx develops.At the end of this exercise, we will discuss ways in which YOU illustrate (or do not illustrate, as the case may also be) what Marx is saying.First, what is each text’s statement of purpose?
6 Marx’s Statements of Purpose Manifesto, par. 5: “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.”“Alienation,” par. 3: “We have now to explain the real connections between private property, greed, the division of labor, capital, and land, the connection between exchange and competition, between value and the devaluation of humans, between monopoly and competition, etc., and between this entire estrangement and the money system.”
7 Stage One: Feudalism What does Marx say about feudal society? What characterizes a “feudal” economy?
8 Feudalism: Answers Feudalism is characterized, Marx says, as follows: Under the “feudal system of industry… industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds” (Manifesto, par. 13).The growing demand for more goods, however, puts these little guys out of business.
9 Stage Two: Industrial Production What characterizes the rise of industrial production?
10 Industrial Production: Answers The fall of feudalismThe rise of the bourgeoisieHuge citiesCentralized political and industrial powerHuge factoriesGrowth of a world economyReligion is co-optedFamily is emptied out
11 Base and Superstructure BourgeoisieArt, literature, music, etc.CulturePrivilegeBaseProletariatEconomic productionsuperstructureBASE BASE BASEBASE BASE BASE BASEPoints:Base:proletariat::superstructure:bourgeoisieA thriving cultural life depends on a foundation of economic productivity. See “beauty” in “Alienation,” par. 14.The proletariat has little or no access to that cultural life.
12 Another Articulation of the Structure: Manifesto, par. 56 Bourgeoisie Capital Wage-labor Competition between laborers
13 Stage Three: Alienation of the Proletariat What does Marx say about the situation of the working class in the context of industrial production?What metaphors does Marx use in Manifesto, par. 36, top right, to describe the workers’ situation?What are the consequences of alienation?
14 Alienation: Answers The worker’s wages lead to economic exploitation. The middle class sinks into the proletariat.Segments of the ruling class sink into the proletariat.Metaphors: The worker becomes objectified—a slave, a soldier, a part of a machine.(more on next slide)
15 More on Alienation The top four types of alienation: From the object of productionFrom the work itselfFrom the physical body and from natureFrom other human beingsOther types of alienation:The worker becomes ever poorer: “The laborer becomes poorer the more wealth he produces…” (“Alienation,” par. 5). Cf. student’s .Objectification: “the loss of and slavery to the object” (“Alienation, “ par. 6).The value of human beings declines.The laborer himself becomes a commodity.LOSS OF THE SELF.Reliance on God: “The more people place in God, the less they retain in themselves,” says in “Alienation,” par. 8.
16 Consequences of Alienation Private property deepens alienation.Wages are a consequence of estranged labor.Thus in “Alienation,” par. 50: private property—bourgeoisieEstranged labor leads to: wages—proletariat
17 Stage Four: The Revolt of the Proletariat What factors precipitate a reversal of power between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat?What are the goals of such a revolt?
18 Causes of Revolt Increasing numbers Trade unions Political power EducationSegments of the ruling class voluntarily join the proletariat.
19 Goals of Revolt Destruction of private ownership of property Destruction of the superstructureTransfer of political power to the baseEmancipation of the workerCommunism:Workers’ paradiseCommon ownershipEquality among all persons
20 Results?private property—bourgeoisie(economic oppression)Estranged labor leads to: wages—proletariat—alienationMarx’s claim is that the elimination of private property and the leveling of the bourgeoisie will eliminate estranged labor and usher in a workers’ paradise. True?
21 What Actually Happened Estranged labor leads to:common ownership—repressivecentral government—party officialshoarded money and enjoyedprivilege not available to workers(political oppression) wages—proletariat—alienationMarx’s claim: “In proportion therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases” (Manifesto, par. 35).The reality: The more repulsive the work was, the more money a worker got paid. A manual laborer could earn more than a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. The actual results of communism dealt Marx a stunning rebuke: the central government replaced the bourgeoisie as an oppressor.
22 Real-world Consequences Expatriation: sign over your house or apartment or land—or be “disappeared.”Redistribution of property so that everybody is equal. Example: 3 generations of one family living together in an apartment that consists of a kitchen, a living room, and a bathroom.
23 Why Marx Is WrongMisconception: The overthrow of the bourgeoisie and the elimination of private property will result in a workers’ paradise.Truth: Communism replaces one oppressor with another. Workers are still alienated because Marx et al. failed to take into account fundamental truths about human nature—about the SELF.
24 QuestionWhat truths about human nature does Marx overlook? In other words, what do human being value? What brings us meaning?
25 Possible Answers Human beings value ownership of private property. Human beings try to beat ANY system.Human beings resent oppression of ANY kind.Human beings like to do better than their neighbors.Human beings like to be rewarded in proportion to their efforts.Human beings are designed to live in harmony with others and with nature.Human beings want something meaningful to do, something to hope for, and someone to love.Human beings like to think positively about their relationship to God/Divinity/Ultimacy.Greed, competition, dissatisfaction: we like our stuff.
26 POINT Communism disregards all of these things. So while Marx was right to diagnose alienation in the work force as a huge problem, his prescription for a cure was misguided.Without a fundamental change in human nature, communism simply replaces one oppressor with another.
27 Final QuestionCan you relate your own experience—at work or at school—to what Marx says? Think especially about his comments about the worker’s alienation from the object s/he produces.END