The age of Space-travel, Internet and Genetic-engineering
Today’s world is full of technological achievements which could not have been imaginable in previous societies within. Now, is the age where people travel to the space, use the internet to send mails and clone sheep of different spices (genetic engineering). Before have we felt so stranded in the face of the forces we created ourselves. Before, the fruits of our labour never threatened our existence like today: this is also the age of nuclear disasters, global warming, and the arms race. For the first time in history we can produce enough to satisfy the needs of everyone on the planet. Millions of people are destroyed by poverty and by disease and our society is dominated by insecurity, as economic recession and military conflict devastate lives with the apparently irresistible power of natural disasters (Robert O’Brien, Marc Williams 2013). The more our cities become populated, the more our lives are characterised by feelings of isolation and loneliness.
On the one hand, there have started into life industrial and scientific forces, which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand, there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors of the Roman Empire. In our days everything seems pregnant with its contrary. Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labour, we behold starving and overworking it. The new-fangled sources of wealth, by some strange weird spell, are turned into sources of want (Robert O’Brien, Marc Williams 2013).
The Marx`s theory of alienation was to reveal the human activity that lies behind the seemingly impersonal forces dominating society. He showed how, although aspects of the society we live in appear natural and independent of us, they are the results of past human actions. For Hungarian Marxist Georg Lukács Marx’s theory ‘dissolves the rigid, unhistorical, natural appearance of social institutions; it reveals their historical origins and shows therefore that they are subject to history in every respect including historical decline. Marx showed not only that human action in the past created the modern world, but also that human action could shape a future world free from the contradictions of capitalism (Robinson 2004). Marx developed a materialist theory of how human beings were shaped by the society they lived in, but also how they could act to change that society, how people are both world determined and world producing (Robinson 2004). Alienation was not rooted in the mind or in religion, Hegel and Feuerbach argued. Instead Marx understood alienation as something rooted in the material world. Alienation meant loss of control, specifically the loss of control over labour. To understand why labour played such a central role in Marx’s theory of alienation, it is worth to look first at Marx’s ideas about human nature which consist of the need to labour on nature to satisfy human needs and imposed condition of human existence (John Ravenhill 2011) .
John Ravenhill (2011) Global Political Economy; 3rd edition; Oxford: Oxford University Press.
William I. Robinson (2004) Globalisation as Epochal Change in World Capitalism, A Theory of Global Capitalism; Production, Class and State in Transnational World; Johns Hopkins.
By Alex NT374@live.mdx.ac.uk