Alienation of Labor and Contemporary Society
The development of capitalism causes the evolution of forms of alienation of labor, which is represented by two tendencies. First, it is the alleviation of the alienation of labor within the framework of traditional capitalist relations. Secondly, the emergence of new means of production (computers and machines) brings to life new forms of alienation of labor.
Forms of alleviation of alienation of labor
Modern capitalism is at one of the highest stages of its development, therefore elements appear in the system of its relations that soften the social results of contradictions inherent in capitalism. This also applies to the alienation of labor. The development of the capitalist economy presupposes first of all the development of means of production, their constant technical and technological modernization in order to increase labor productivity and the quality of the output, and through this, survival in competitive struggle. However, high-tech means of production require a highly skilled worker for their work, which means for the owners of capital the obligation to spend not only on the introduction of higher technologies into production, but also on the expanded reproduction of workers' skills, which at the same time implies the reproduction of not only the qualification itself, but also other components of the labor potential of workers: health, social skills (especially communication skills), education and others.
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A modern worker should not only regain his strength after work, but also be able to fully rest, increasing his educational and cultural level in order to be able to carry out highly qualified servicing of high-tech means of production.
All this pushes the boundaries of the necessary product, increasing the share of the product appropriated by the employees of the public. It turns out that workers begin to receive more of the product created by them, which to some extent alleviates the severity of the alienation of labor.
The increase in the share of the product received by employees occurs in the process of carrying out social policies at enterprises and organizations. Enterprises pursuing social policy spend part of the profits received to pay for the production of collective benefits that are free of charge (or with significant discounts) are provided to employees. The assortment of such benefits is wide enough - from free (or partially paid) meals in the canteen of the enterprise or organization to free (or with partial payment) vouchers to a sanatorium or rest home. Free consumption of such benefits by employees is called upon to expand their labor potential in order to increase their labor return during working hours.
Workers begin to receive a large share of the social product in the process of expanding the state's sphere of public goods production, such as defense of the country, protection of internal order, fire safety, public transport systems, fundamental scientific research, environmental programs, the system of education, health care, etc. The state through the system of taxation redistributes the social product, including increasing the financing of production public goods, free of charge consumed by the majority of the population. At the same time, in the development of capitalism, some of the benefits that were originally private and therefore consumed only by those groups of the population who could pay for their appropriation are beginning to be claimed as public goods, i. there is a need for their consumption by each member of society (education and health).
The fact is that the consumption of these public goods forms the ability to work, the labor qualities of the employee. The society should be sure that the labor qualities of the employees are properly formed. This is intended to guarantee the state by developing standards that should be met by the production of such goods. In addition, the capacity for work of appropriate quality must be formed for each member of society, while representatives of not all social groups can afford to pay the relevant benefits if they were private. In this case, it turns out that the state is necessary as a producer of these goods, which are provided free of charge to every member of society.
However, both the social policy in enterprises and the state's activity in the production of public goods have as their ultimate goal the increase in labor returns from workers, i.e. ultimately, an increase in profits, which is the main goal of economic activity under capitalism.
Another form of smoothing the severity of the alienation of labor is the introduction of various options for employee participation in the management and distribution of profits , received by the enterprise. These measures are designed to optimize the structure of motivation of workers' labor, to stimulate them to better and more productive work. In this regard, raising the level of the employee's income, through which the optimization is carried out, is only a compelled means to achieve another goal - increasing the profitability of production. Involved in the adoption of decisions on hygiene and working conditions, the rules of labor discipline and other issues of secondary concern to the management of the enterprise and the distribution of profit, workers are nevertheless not allowed to participate in the development of strategically important decisions for the operation of enterprises. It should be noted that their participation in the distribution of profits is strictly limited.
An example from practice.
Procter & Gamble has developed and implemented an efficient system of employee participation in the current conditions in the management and distribution of the company's profits, but as one of the company's leading managers said, "we use this approach is not for altruistic reasons" .
A special line of smoothing out the alienation of labor is the appearance and quite widespread in Western countries of enterprises with the property of workers (enterprises under the ESOP system - the Employee Stock Ownership Plan). The emergence of this form of ownership became the response to the concentration of most of the property of the country in the hands of a few social groups, in which, for example, in the United States, 90% of the country's property is concentrated in 5% of the population, and holders of 50% of the share capital account for 2% of the country's population.
The basis for the emergence of workers' property is that the social and economic progress of modern societies requires the development of the creative forces of workers, the disclosure of their labor potential, which is difficult in realizing the alienation of labor inherent in capitalism. This form of ownership assumes that the enterprise belongs to its labor collective, therefore, each employee in addition to the necessary product in the form of wages receives also a part of the surplus product (deductions from profits in the form of dividends).
Within the framework of this formula, several variants of its social and economic organization have been developed, but all of them presuppose a correspondence between the labor contribution of the employee and the product share obtained by him. Moreover, since labor ownership is always based on the unity of labor and property only, but labor, property and management, the functioning of workers' property requires a developed system of self-government and industrial democracy, which makes it possible for each employee to influence the process of enterprise management. The availability of this capability requires workers to acquire not only professional knowledge and skills, but also the knowledge necessary to manage a modern enterprise. In this regard, enterprises with the property of employees organize a system of training employees to prepare them for the implementation of relevant social roles.
Enterprises with the property of employees are quite widespread in Western countries, they occupy a sufficiently strong position in their socio-economic systems. However, in our country this form of property was on the margins in connection with the bureaucratic-criminalistic nature of privatization.
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