Alienation and exploitation are issues that have been greatly studied by the sociologist, Karl Marx. According to Marx, capitalists steal the Proletarian’s humanity by buying their labor power for a cheap wage and selling the products produced by them (Proletarians) for a bigger cost. Marx identified Proletarians as the workers who sell their labor power for a wage; also known as the working class (Marx, pg 210). Not only do the capitalist sell the commodities for a greater cost, but the workers can be alienated from their own work/product. To Marx, a worker is exploited from their labor because they are not being paid for what the object they created is worth; they are being paid on a cheaply wage. As for alienation, Marx discovered that there are four ways in which a worker can be alienated; from the actual work process because the worker is doing it for a wage, own product because the product becomes a commodity for the owner to sell, other workers, and from oneself because the worker invest their time and effort on a product that they directly never owned. Marx defines a commodity as anything that can be bought and or sold (Marx. Pg. 1). However, not everyone necessarily goes through all of Marx’s’ four forms of alienation, it all depends on the work and the worker.
the assembly line. As you see in the picture, the workers who are obviously working class (based on appearance) working and producing commodities in a mean of productions to earn a wage. This means that they are manufacturing products to be sold (become commodities) by the capitalists who own the means of productions; therefore these individuals are getting exploited from their labor. Not only that, but from what I see they are also being alienated from their product because they are working for someone else that will own the object they are producing; such as, capitalists since they bought the worker’s labor power (Marx.204). In the picture you see the workers working in an assembly line and each worker is doing something to contribute to the final object/product. These individuals are not allow to talk to one another because doing so will slow down the line, hence slow down the production. And like Marx argued capitalists “ consists in living labour serving accumulated labour as a means of maintaining and multiplying the exchange”, to me it basically means keep the production going to earn greater value/money (Marx. Pg 209). Finally, the workers in this picture are possibly being alienated from human being because I can assume from their appearance that they are in need of money, so they are working hard and putting their time and effort in the commodities. Like mentioned previously, using Marx’s theory of alienation and exploitation and his use of commodities in this theory we can see how and why he would analyze it using his four forms.