Workers In Capitalism, Alienation Of Workers In Capitalism, James W. Rinehart

2184 words - 9 pages

According to James W. Rinehart in The tyranny of Work: Alienation and the Labour Process, work is a primary activity for human beings that differentiates human from other forms of life and today adults spend at least one-third of their waking hours on the job, which has great impact on personality of those who perform it (Rinehart 171). Quoting from Russell, there are two kinds of work according to professor Conlin. First type of work is the one where you alter the position of matter, which is unpleasant, ill-paid and dangerous. Second type of work involved you telling others to move matter, which is pleasant, well paid and safe. Although I never had a privilege to perform the second type ...view middle of the document...

Work became an activity that takes large portion of time that spills over into non-work spheres of life." (Rinehart 171). However I could not quit because of that "sweet" pay cheque that I got every two weeks. Then I realized that I was deeply involved and a part of Capitalism. The purpose of this paper is to relate my working experience at Mac Donald's to Rinehart's argument in respect to relationship between work and alienation. According to Rinehart, who quoted Karl Marx, there are four type of alienation. A condition in which workers are alienated from the product they create, a condition in which workers are alienated from work process, a condition in which workers are alienated from themselves and finally, a condition in which workers are alienated from others. These four types of alienation will be further analyze and related as I disclose my working experience at Mac Donald's.First type of alienation is a condition in which workers are alienated from the products they create. This was extremely true in relation to my experience at Mac Donald's. Everything that I was producing was coordinated by management, owner and Mac Donald's, since it is a franchise. A machine dumped certain amount of fries into basket, which was placed into a fryer that had a timer. Burgers were cooked on a grill that had timer. Certain amounts of sauces were dispensed from a saucer machine and certain amounts of drinks were poured into cups by machines. Every process in preparing a meal was done through machines. The quality, contents and quantity was not determined by those whose labour is responsible for preparing a meal because the ends of capitalist production are not defined by the needs and interest of workers but by employers' needs to generate profits and expand capital (Rinehart 177). Even though I was earning income through the process I could not feel sense of pride and accomplishment.Another alienation that Rinehart discusses is a condition in which workers are alienated from the work process. Workers are cede their ability for determine the intensity and duration of work, to define the manner in which work is organized, divided and allocated and to determine the tools and machines used in the production process (Rinehart 178). It is obvious that I had no control over my work process in Mac Donald's. As mentioned earlier, everything had to follow certain process in preparing a meal for a customer. Even the process of serving had to follow an order. A drink had to be served, and then I take money from customer, then a burger was served followed by fries. Because I had to follow these steps in serving I received complains from customer about their food being serve too slow. It was not my choice to serve the way I did, I was instructed by management. The work at Mac Donald's gave me no room for creativity. According to Rinehart, quoting Marx, work is an activity in which people can clearly manifest their unique qualities as human beings and a medium ...


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