On Overcoming Alienation; On the Work Ethic; Underdevelopment in Turkey

  • Hal Jamison
  • J. Appleseed
  • Ilkay Sunar
  • Mehmet Arda
Keywords: Philosophy, Labor


Some comments on and criticism of "Class Power and Alienated Labor," by Bowles and Gintis in the March 1975 issue of Monthly Review: Alienated labor, which provides no opportunity for worker self-development or meaningful collective action with others, is primarily what they discuss. Alienation itself they do not explain. So by a process of verbal drift, the article represents the worker, particularly the industrial worker, as exemplifying alienation. By suggestion he or she is a defeated, apathetic, isolated, human being. In fact, if we put Bowles' and Gintis' conception of alienated labor as the emptying from work of content allowing self-development, together with their quotation from Eliot Jacques that "man's work…gives him a measure of his sanity," we should conclude that industrial workers in general are insane. So the underlying message, to contrast with the written one (that socialism is necessary) is hopelessness.