The following quotations are taken from:
Karl Marx, The Portable Karl Marx, edited by Eugene Kamenka. Viking Penguin Inc. 1983.
From “Economic-Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844”:
“The more wealth the worker produces, the more his production increases in power and scope, the poorer he becomes. The more commodities the worker produces, the cheaper a commodity he becomes. The extinction of value from the world of things is directly proportional to the devaluation of the world of men. Labor does not only produce commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a commodity and it does so to the same extent as it produces commodities in general.
This fact expresses nothing but this: the object which labor produces—the product of labor—confronts it as an alien being, as a power independent of the producer. The product of labor is labor embodied and made material in a thing; it is the objectification of labor. The realization of labor is its objectification. Within political economy, this realization of labor appears as the loss of the object and bondage to it; appropriation appears as alienation [Entfremdung], as externalization [Entäusserung].
The realization of labor appears as the loss of reality by the worker to such an extent that he loses reality to the point of starvation. Objectification appears as loss of the object to such an extent that the worker is robbed of the most essential objects, not only for life but also for work. Indeed, work itself becomes an object which he can obtain only with the greatest effort and with the most unpredictable interruptions. The appropriation of the object appears as alienation to such an extent that the more objects the worker produces the fewer he can own and the more he falls under the dominion of his product, capital.
All these consequences are contained in the fact that the worker is related to the product of his labor as to an alien object. For on this premise it is clear tha the more the worker exhausts himself, the more powerful the alien world of objects which he creates over and against himself becomes, the poorer he and his inner world become, the less there is that belongs to him as his own. The same is true in religion. The more man puts into God, the less he retains in himself. The worker puts his life into the object; but not it no longer belongs to him, it belongs to the object. The greater this activity, therefore, the greater the worker’s lack of objects. What the product of his work is, he is not. The greater the product, therefore, the less is he himself. The externalization of the worker into his product does not only mean that his work becomes an object, an external existence, but that it exists outside him independently, as something alien to him, as confronting him as an autonomous power. It means that the life which he has given to the object confronts him as something hostile and alien.” 133-134
“In these two respects, therefore, the worker becomes a slave to his object: first, in that he receives an object of labor, that is, he receives labor, and second, in that he receives the means of subsistence. The first, therefore, enables him to exist as a worker and the second as a physical subject. The high point of this bondage lies in the fact that he can maintain himself as a physical subject only in so far as he is a worker and that only as a physical subject is he a worker.” 135
“Political economy conceals the alienation inherent in the nature of labor by not considering the direct relationship between the worker (labor) and production. To be sure, labor produces marvels for the rich but it produces deprivation for the worker. It produces palaces, but hovels for the worker. It produces beauty, but deformity for the worker. It replaces labor by machines, but it throws one section of the workers back to barbaric labor, and it turns the remainder into machines. It produces intelligence, but imbecility and cretinism for the worker.
The direct relationship of labor to its product is the relationship of the worker to the objects of his production. The relationship of the man of means to the objects of production and to production itself is only a consequence of this first relationship and confirms it.” 135
“What then, constitutes the alienation of labor?
First, in the fact that labor is external to the worker, that is, that it does not belong to his essential being; that in his work, therefore, he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel well but unhappy, does not freely develop his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and ruins his mind. The worker, therefore, feels himself only outside his work, and feels beside himself in his work. He is at home when he is not working, and when his is working he is not at home. His work therefore is not voluntary, but coerced; it is forced labor. It is therefore not the satisfaction of a need, but only a means for satisfying needs external to it. Its alien character emerges clearly in the fact that labor is shunned like the plague as soon as there is no physical or other compulsion. External labor, labor in which man is externalized, is labor of self-sacrifice, of mortification. Finally, the external nature of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in that labor he does not belong to himself but to someone else. Just as in religion, the spontaneous activity of human imagination, of the human brain and the human heart, operates independently of the individual,.i.e. as an alien divine or diabolical activity, so the worker’s activity is not his spontaneous activity. It belongs to another; it is the loss of his self.
The result, therefore, is that man (the worker) feels that he is acting freely only in his animal functions—eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his shelter and his finery—while in his human functions he feels himself nothing more than an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.
Eating, drinking, procreating, etc., are, of course, also genuinely human functions. But taken in abstraction, separated from the remaining sphere of human activities and turned into sole and ultimate ends, they are animal.
We have considered labor, the act of alienation of practical human activity, in two aspects: (1) the relation of the worker to the product of labor as an alien object that dominates him. This relationship is at the same time the relation to the sensuous external world, to natural objects as an alien world confronting him in a hostile way. (2) The relation of labor to the act of production within labor. This relation is the relationship of the worker to his own activity as an alien activity that does not belong to him; activity as suffering, strength as weakness, procreation as emasculation, the workers own physical and spiritual energy, his personal life—for what is life but activity—as an activity turned against him, independent of him, and not belonging to him. Here we have self-alienation, as above we had the alienation of the thing.” 136-137
“In alienating (1) nature and (2) man himself, his own active function, his life activity, from man, alienated labor alienates the species from man. It converts the life of the species, for him, into a means of individual life. First, it alienates the species—life and the individual life and secondly it makes the individual life, in its abstract form, the purpose of the species-life, also in abstract and alienated form.
Labor, life activity and productive life, indeed, first appear to man only as means to satisfy a need, the need of maintaining physical existence. Productive life, however, is a species-life. It is life begetting life. The whole character of a species—its species-character—is contained in the character of its life activity; and free conscious activity is the species-character of ma. Life itself appears only as a means to life.” 138-139
“(4) A direct consequence of man’s alienation from the product of his labor, from his life activity, from his species-being, is the alienation of man from man. When man confronts himself, he confronts another man. What is true of man’s relationship to his work, to the product of his work, and to himself, is also true of man’s relationship to the other man, and to that man’s labor and the object of his labor.
Generally, the proposition that man’s species-being is alienated from him means that one man is alienated from another, just as each of them is alienated from human nature.
The alienation of man, indeed every relationship in which man stands to himself, is realized and expressed only in the relationship in which man stands to other men.
In the relationship of alienated labor, therefore, every man sees others in accordance with the standard and the relationship in which he finds himself as a worker.” 140-141