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Workplace Alienation Essay

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Throughout my work experience I have been a witness to various degrees of work alienation. As I continue to gather additional experience in the work environment and engage in discussions with fellow employees, it is clearly evident that there is workplace discontentment and feelings of being taken advantage of. Based on my work experiences to date, I agree with James Rinehart’s claim that forms of alienation are evident in the workplace. They force human beings into modes of behaviour that are unnatural and possibly harmful. I will illustrate that as we live in a capitalist environment, employees have little say or control over decisions made by their employers; workers do not have power over the processes or methods of work; workers lack fulfillment and are not treated fairly in their workplace and class structures are created to show dominance behavior.
Producing goods or services are dictated not by employees but by their employers. If profits exist, employers are the ones that benefit more so than the regular worker. “Even when working people experience absolute gains in their standard of living, their position, relative to that of capitalists, deteriorates.” (Rinehart, Pg. 14). The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Hard work wears down the employee leaving them frustrated in their spare time. Workers are estranged from the products they produce. At the end of the day, they get paid for a day’s work but they have no control over the final product that was produced or sold. To them, productivity does not equal satisfaction. The products are left behind for the employer to sell and make a profit. In discussions with many relatives and friends that have worked on an assembly line, they knew they would not be ...


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...nvironment. Ultimately, humans are creative, hardworking and productive beings. As we spend the majority of our day at work, we want it to be rewarding and fulfilling. In this theory of alienation, being a worker comes first and being a person comes second. Alienation makes people spend their lives working on things they hardly care about while they make money for someone else as they sacrifice their own interests and goals. Capitalism turns workers into machines and alienates them from their full potential. Workers are not content as they are unable to determine their own paths as they are at the mercy of their employers. Alienation produces boredom, stress, unhappiness, misery and low productivity.

Work Cited

Rinehart, James W. The Tyranny of Work: Alienation and The Labour Process, Third Edition. (Toronto: Harcourt Brace & Company, Canada.) 1996.


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