ADM 4150 Modernity and
the Idea of Freedom

Weekly Questions

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Week #10

The Question: Marx claims ”Political economy
proceeds from the fact of private property, but it does not explain it to us.”
Please explain this claim and the consequence of starting the analysis from the
”fact” of private property.

Political economy proceeds from the fact of private property,
but it does not explain it to us. The material process through which private
property actually passes is handled by general, abstract formulas, then these
formulas are adopted as laws. they cannot comprehend this law – that is, they
can not show how private property is born from its own structure.Political
economy can not explain the source of division between the labor and the
capital and between the capital and the land. The most important reason is the
interests of the capitalists in defining the relationship between wages and
profit. For example, it defines the relationship of wages to profit, it takes
the interest of the capitalists to be the ultimate cause, i.e., it takes for
granted what it is supposed to explain. (Marx, 2017) The only thing that
political economics takes into action is the war between greed and the greedy;
that is competition. It is necessary to grasp the essential link between
private property, money ambition and labor, the capital, and the establishment
of land ownership in terms of the money system. The fact that political
economists create a fictional primitive age to explain the relation between
alienation and the monetary system does not actually explain anything; this
only complicates the actual phenomenon that needs to be investigated. Political
economists accept the compulsory relation between the division of labor and exchange
as an event, which in fact must be explained as conclusion and fact. (Marx, 2017)

Therefore, the actual fact is explained:

The more wealth a worker produces, the greater the power and
scope of production, the less he becomes impoverished. The more commodities he
creates, he becomes a cheaper commodity. The world of people is worthless in
direct proportion to the increasing value of the world of things. Labor does
not only produce commodities but also it produces itself and the worker as a
commodity, and it does so in the commodity production. (Marx,

According to Marx, man has been reduced to a piece of
machine. alienation emerges as a process of returning to the same human being
as the result of human labor as an alien essence enslaving him. Marx, who puts
the concept of alienation on a social basis, stresses that alienation is not
always an endless concept everywhere is a historical phenomenon.

Marx also deals with alienation in terms of private property
and labor.According to Marx, private property is nothing but alienation.
Private property is both a source of “alienated labor”, a necessary
end result, and the forced source and the reason of self-alienation of labor.
On the other hand, the division of labor leads to alienation, a specialization
that emerges as a necessary result, and people perceive it as a power that must
be enslaved and subordinated to itself.

According to Marx, alienation is not a phenomenon specific to
capitalism, but capitalism is a system of objective conditions that bring the
phenomenon of human alienation to the highest level. Capitalism, on the one
hand, creates new addictions through new needs, while on the other hand, it
contains traps that will prevent or delay human beings becoming aware of their

Money, according to Marx, is the alienated power of mankind.
Individuals can do what they can not do as human beings through money. Money is
an external universal force that reverses all human qualities and puts them in
the position of their opponents. Marx argues that the alienation of the labor
produces its own antagonist one.However, the act of creating labor becomes more
dominant in it, rather than emancipates from it. Every generation produces a
little less of itself, causing every action to become a little more passive and
every use of the power to become a little weaker. In addition to the effect of
alienation on labor and money, Marx also refers to the “labor” itself
in terms of alienation. Labor leads the workers away from themselves.

Historically, according to Marx, man is increasingly
alienated while increasingly controlling nature on the one hand. In other
words, human history is the history of man’s control over nature and
alienation. Private property is a result of that controlling over power.

Through estranged, alienated labor, then, the worker produces
the relationship to this labor of a man alien to labor and standing outside it.
The relationship of the worker to labor creates the relationship to it of the
capitalist (or whatever one chooses to call the master of labor). Private property
is thus the product, the result, the necessary consequence, of alienated labor,
of the external relation of the worker to nature and to himself. (Marx, 2017)

Marx, K. (2017). 1844 El Yazmalar?. ?stanbul: ?leti?im Yay?nlar?   

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