Today, many scholars want to know if the ideas proposed by Karl Marx during the nineteenth century about social organization and labor bear any relevance in today´s environment.
According to Marx, the starting point of capitalist mode of production was when a higher number of workers gathered all in one place at the same time to produce only one type of merchandise for a capitalist. He then pays each for their individual effort, but he ends up gaining more than that .
The first stage of this manufacture process takes a lot from artisanship. However it becomes something else as the capitalist starts dividing the labor and each worker dedicates his efforts only to a small part of the productive process. The creative role he had when he was artisan gets cut off. The worker becomes a mere efficient tool that only does a specific operation in the productive process . The capitalist productive system, according to Marx´s ideas, alienated workers from their creative, artistic and intellectual faculties in order to transform them into effective parts of a machinery.
The ones who lend their work force to the capitalist are, according to Marx, a class of propertyless laborers who have nothing to sell but their labor power. They are the proletariat, a term that comes from proles or offspring . Marx thought that they held the seed of liberation, and that they would end the domination of capitalism, putting an end to the alienation of work and the appropriation of the value of their work by parasitic capitalists .
However, Marx expressed his visions based on his observations of a nascent industrial revolution, when conditions for workers were absolutely appalling. He envisioned a proletariat, the mass of employees in the working class, that would eventually, and inevitably, revolt and bring about a new social system where workers would regain control over what they produce, and their creative faculties will be again part of the productive process.
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Zeitlin, I. (1968). Ideology and the Development of Sociological Theory. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.