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Personality and the Dialectic of Labour and Property

Personality and the Dialectic
of Labour and PropertyLocke, Hegel, Marx.

Chris Arthur

One of the earliest objections to communism
claims that ‘the complete abolition of private property’ makes no sense because people
have an inalienable property in their own
individuality, which comprises all those
features that are peculiar to the person who
has them (1).

This objection flows from the
fact that the bourgeois critic construes all
personal relationships in terms of the
language of property; but if he then marks
off one sphere as inalienable property he
misses the point of the property relationship; for, as Marx says: ‘In reality I
possess private property only insofar as I
have something vendible, whereas what is
peculiar to me may not be vendible at all.’

(2) .

This confusion illustrates the complexities in the relationship of property and

This paper takes up a tradition of discussion of this issue, especially
in connection with property in a person’s
labour. We shall see that, according to
Locke, property is founded on personal
labour; according to Hegel it is the expression of the person’s will; while, according
to Marx, it is a realm of estrangement – in
it is manifested the alienation of labour.

After a section on John Locke, I contrast
Hegel’s and Marx’s fundamental ontological
determinations before going on to deal more
specifically with Hegel’s account of wagelabour in his Philosophy of Right (3), and
with Marx’s theory of alienation in his 1844

I will end by suggesting some
clarifications of Marx’s concept of
alienated labour.


1. John Locke
Locke’s justification of property right in
his Second Treatise of Government trades on
a confusion of two senses of ‘property’.

The first sense he employs is that in which
property is inseparable from its possessor;
it is essential to that person being the
person he is; and, so far, inalienable.

second sense of property employed refers it

to something immediately external to its
possessor, held by him as a matter of right
(rather than identical with his person) hence disputable – and hence alienable.

Let us now consider Locke’s argument,
bearing this distinction in mind.

He sets
out from the problem: How can individuals
legitimately appropriate materials to satisfy their needs if God gave the world to mankind in common? It would seem that one
would have to await the consent of the rest
of mankind before appropriating anything.

Locke wishes to convince us that it is not
necessary to await the constitution of a
social process of allocation because there
is a natural (pre-political) right to private
property, rooted in our persons and labours:

‘Every man has a property in his own
person; this nobody has any right to but
himself. The labour of his body and the
work of his hands we may say are properly

Whatsoever, then, he removes out of
the state that nature hath provided and
left it in, he hath mixed his labour with,
and joined to it something that is his
own, and thereby makes it his property …

For this labour being the unquestionable
property of the labourer, no man but he
can have a right to what that is once
joined to ….

He that is nourished by ‘”
the apples
he gathered from the trees in the wood,
has certainly appropriated them to himself.

Nobody can deny but the nourishment is his.

I ask, then, When did they
begin to be his? … And ’tis plain, if
the first gathering made them not his,
nothing else could.

That labour put a
distinction between them and the common
… and so they became his private
right ….

Thus the grass my horse has bit, the
turfs my servant has cut, and the ore I
have dug in any place … become my

The labour that was mine
removing them out of that common state
they were in, hath fixed my property in
them.’ (paras.27-28)
It is clear that Locke’s intention here is to
specify criteria whereby property (in the

second sense) may rightfully be held.

Something in the state that nature left it in,
that is, external to the individual, becomes
‘his private right’ (even though it was
originally ‘common’ and could in principle
have been appropriated as private property
by someone else) in virtue of the fact that
he has mixed his labour with it; ‘for this
labour being the unquestionable property of
the labourer, no man but he can have a right
to what that is once joined to’ .

The premiss of the argument – that ‘the
labour of his body and the work of his hands
are properly his’ – is ambiguous.

On the
one hand – if this is property in the second
sense one cannot assume that it is his; the
legal title to it may be held by-a slaveowner, a feudal lord, or a capitalist
employer; that Locke assumes such labour is
alienable is evident from the striking
-interpolation of ‘the turfs my servant has
cut’ amongst those things in regard to which
‘the labour that was mine … hath fixed my
property in them’.

On the other hand – our
readiness to accept the premiss is due to
our reading it as if the labour mentioned in
it is ‘the unquestionable property of the
labourer’ in the first sense of the term,
that is, inseparable from him.

That Locke
is tradinv on this sense is evident from
the discussion of gathering apples: ‘Nobody
can deny but the nourishment is his.’

nobody can deny it, it must be because the
nourishment is essentially his (the first
sense of ownership); but then Locke goes on
to ask, ‘When did they begin to be his?’ and in asking this clearly conjoins the
sense ‘rightfully his’ with ‘essentially his’

in order to end with the conclusion that
‘gathering’ made them ‘his private property’

– property in the second sense, obviously.

Locke’s argument trades on this shifting
between the two senses of ownership.

procedure is fallacious in that, if property
is alienable, there is only ever a contingent
relation between a man and the property he
holds at any given time; so if the power to
labour is such that a property it undercuts
the argument based on the mixing of such
labour with the natural material; alternatively, if labour provides a natural foundation for property right because it is ‘unquestionably’ the labourer’s then it should
not also be alienable; yet, besides the
notorious turf-cutting servant, there is
general evidence in Locke’s text that he
takes for granted that it is natural for
labour-power to be alienable (4).

Locke presupposes a thoroughly bourgeois


view of the individual as standing in a
property relation to himself; he attributes
to a man property in ‘his life, liberty, and
estate’ (para.87).

He also says: ‘By
property I … mean that property which men
have in their persons as well as their goods’

(para.173). Yet, if an individual stands in
a property relationship to his person and
his labour in the same sense as he does to
his goods, then he must treat them as
external to him and alienable; if this is
so there is nothing ‘natural’ about the
characterization of labour as property of
the labourer – still less of his ‘private
right’ in the product of ‘his’ labour.

the end, for Locke, the only thing inseparable from a person is the abstract capacity
to hold property.

This is also inherent in the views of
such an apparently dissimilar thinker as
Hegel, to whom we now turn.

2. Property and personality in Hegel’s Ontology
The central organizing idea of Hegel’s
Philosophy of Right (5) is Freedom; the book
is designed to show that it is actualized in
the li£e of the modern state.

The first
part – entitled Abstrac~ht – introduces
the notions of personality and property.

According to Hegel, the person demonstrates
his inherent freedom through embodying his
will in an external thing, immediately
different from him, thereby making it his.

If we compare Hegel with Locke, we find that
there is a deeper contrast than that between
Hegel’s talk of ‘putting one’s.will into a
thing’ and Locke’s talk of ‘mixing labour
with it’; for Hegel stresses that the
rational ground of property lies in its relation to freedom:

‘If emphasis is placed on my needs, then
the possession of property appears as a
means to their satisfaction, but the
true position is that … property is
the first embodiment of freedom and so
is in itself a substantive end. ‘

Hegel postpones discussion of the relationship of property to need to later sections
which presuppose the rational basis of
private property.

Locke, to the contrary, starts from needs
rather than freedom, and this is why he must
immediately add limitations to rightful
appropriation with respect to ‘spoilage’,
and to ‘enough, and as good, being left for

others’ (Second Treatise, paras 31 & 33).

He presupposes, rather than deduces, the
property of individuals in their persons;
but then faces a problem, granted the contingencies of need, in that the earth is
supposed to be given to mankind in common.

For an individual to satisfy needs without
‘express consent of all the commoners’

(para.28), a transition to private property
must be effected on the basis of prepolitical claims. The founding of private
property on the labour ‘that is his own’

gives a person such rights and enables him
to satisfy his needs.

Since it is assumed
that others have the same sort of needs, and
the movement from common property in the
earth to private right in its useful produce
is based on ‘natural reason’ (para.25), it
is against such reason to appropriate so
much that some would spoil; and from further
contingencies making possible monopolisation
is derived the natural limitation that
enough be left for others.

Hegel, on the other hand, refuses to discuss the question of the extent of ownership
at this point: ‘The rational aspect is that
I possess property….

What and how much I
possess is a matter of indifference as far
as rights are concerned’ (para.49).

seems, nevertheless, that Hegel should have
introduced analogous limitations to those
of Locke insofar as his own justification of
property might run into problems over monopolisation.

However, it should be under
stood that Hegel in this first part of his
book is talking of the person (para.49R);
the moment of differentiation, and hence the
positing of many individuals and their
relationship~rrives only with Civil
Society – discussed by Hegel in the third,
and last, part (6).

According to Hegel, then, property is no
mere social convenience giving people
access to means of subsistence as of right;
it is a ‘substantive end’ in virtue of its
role in giving personality objectivity.

argues for its necessity by pointing out
that ‘a person in making decisions is
related to a world of nature directly confronting him, and thus the personality of
the will stands over against this world as
something subjective’.

In reacting to this
situation ‘personality … struggles to lift
itself above this restriction and to give
itself reality, or in other words to claim
that external world as its own’ (para.39).

In this way personality can express its
inherent freedom, Hegel believes, and he
develops this idea as follows:

‘A person must translate his freedom into
an external sphere … immediately
different and separable from him.

What is immediately different from free
mind is that which, both for mine and in
itself, is the external pure and simple,
a thing, something not free, not personal,
without rights ….

A person has as his substantive end the
right of putting his will into any and
every thing and thereby making it his,
because it has no such end in itself and
derives its destiny and soul from his

This is the absolute right of
appropriation which man has over all
things.’ (paras.41,42,44)

It seems curious to speak of a ‘right’

of appropriation man has over ‘things’,
without conceiving of it in terms of the
relationships between persons with respect
to the things appropriated. However, the
point Hegel is driving at is that, from his
philosophical standpoint, a thing can be
appropriated rightfully, and constituted as
the content of a right which prohibits any
other attempting to appropriate it, if, and
only if, it is not itself ‘substantive’, in
that it ‘has no ends of its own to realize’

because it is external ‘both for mind and in
itself’. How can there be a realm of such-things? What is its significance in Hegel’s

His problematic is that of personality
overcominv, the limitations of subjectivity
by appropriating an external sphere as its
property; but the way in which this problematic is articulated is significant, for
personality (in the phase of its ‘elementary
immediacy’ (para.43» claims the world of
nature (‘what is immediately different and
separable from him’ (para.41)), not as its
proper realm, but in spite of its being
‘immediately different’.

Hegel feels it
necessary to apologize:

‘Even if my freedom is here realized
first of all in an external thing, and
so falsely realized, nevertheless
abstract personality in its immediacy
can have no other embodiment save one
characterized by immediacy’

(para.41A – my emphasis C.A.)
Why does he hold freedom is debased when
realized in ‘things’? It depends upon the
concept of ‘the external’ being given a
sense peculiar to Hegel’s idealism in this

‘From the point of view of free mind,
which must, of course, be distinguished
from mere consciousness, the external is
external absolutely, and it is for this
reason that the determinate character
aSSigned to nature by the concept is
inherent externality.

(For), since a thing lacks subjectivity,
it is external not merely to the subject
but to itself.’

(para.42 Remark and Addition)

Hegel on Nature
This doctrine (a truth of Speculative
Reason which passeth Understanding (see 44R)
‘of course’) depends upon Hegel’s general
system (of which the Philosophy of Right is
only a part), expounded in his Encyclopaedia
of the Philosophical Sciences which moves
from Logic, through Nature, to Spirit.

The various moments of thought outlined in
the Logic are internally connected through
the self-determination of the concept in its

The categories cannot be
external to each other – they form a
mediated whole.

However, at the end of the
Logic the absolute Idea freely posits itself
in the form of otherness, ‘as Nature’ (7).

‘Since therefore the Idea is (presented
as) the negative of itself, or is
external to itself, Nature is not merely

external in relation to this Idea (and
to its subjective existence Spirit), but
externality constitutes its specificity,
as Nature’ (8).

Nature is an external world of objects
externally related to one another; it is
unconscious of its concept, external to its
own truth.

It is absolute externality
because the internality to which that
externality is related can only be reconstituted through the medium of thought.

As Marx points out, the form of the dialectical deduction in the Encyclopaedia renders
Nature, as such, senseless; it ‘only has the
sense of an externality to be superseded
(aufgehoben) (9). When Hegel characterizes
Nature as ‘externality’ this sounds innocent
enough; but, as Marx explains, externality
here should not be understood as a sensuously accessible world exposing itself to the
light of day; rather, he says, ‘it is to be
taken in the sense of alienation (Entausserung), a flaw, a weakness … ‘ ‘For the
abstract thinker Nature must therefore
supersede (aufheben) itself, since it is
already posited by him as a potentially
superseded being.’ (10).

Because Nature
is posited as the exoteric form of Logic
with the consequence that ‘the truth about
things is that as such immediately single,
i.e. sensuous things, they are only a show
(Schein)(ll) – they have no substantive
inlependence, from the Speculative viewpo”nt.

Nature is a realm of immediacy in
wh ch immediately single things positively
cry out for mediation as it were.

For Hegel it is not a question of
natural objectivity of which man is a part
a/nd in and through which his existence is
naturally mediated; it is a question of mind
positing the realm of nature (including the
body incidentally – as we shall see below)
as immediately other (i.e. opposite, antithetical, – not merely difference within a
unity), and hence being moved to idealize
this actuality, since, as inherent externality, Nature lacks ideality itself (in spite
of its ‘show of self-subsistence for consciousness, intuition and representative
thinking’ (para.44R» and must submit to
its incorporation as a moment in Spirit’s

One sees now why, for Hegel, the central
instances of free action in the world are
not bodily labours, but turn out to be
‘judgements of the will on the thing’ (para.

53), because it is free-will which characterizes spirit; certainly~en he touches
on a material content the importance of such
moments is presented merely as a spur to an
ideal upshot.

The Ideality of Property
Let us look at the material content touched
on under the head ‘Property’, and how this
reality is idealized.

Hegel admits that, since property is to
be the ’embodiment of personality, my inward
idea and will that something is to be mine
is not enough to make it my property’ (para.

51). Occupancy is necessary – not least in
order to make my property recognizable by

However, in the discussion of
occupancy, Hegel overcomes ‘the matter of

the thing’ only in ideality; for since
‘matter offers resistance to me,
occupancy, as an external activity whereby
we actualize our universal right of appropriating natural objects … involves …

restriction and contingency’; hence
‘mastery and external possession of things
becomes … indeterminate and incomplete’ ;
yet (Hegel consoles us) ‘this actual
occupancy is different from property as
such because property is complete as the
work of the free will alone’ and ‘in relation to the will and property … this
independence of matter has no truth … even
though there still remains in possession, as
an external relation to an object, something
external’ (para.52 & Remark).

Hegel then turns to the ‘further determinations’ of property actualized in three
moments of ‘the will’s relation to the
thing’ (para. 53).

The positive moment is
signified by ‘taking possession of the thing
immediately’ whereby one becomes objective
to oneself in one’s property. This sinking
into the particular inadequately realizes
the univers~lity of the will.

Thus we move
to the moment of negativity whereby the will
distinguishes itself, through the ‘use’ of
the thing for one’s own ends, from the thing

Even in this relation the will is
still debased (see above discussion (of para
41A» by its involvement with the particularity of the objects and their use-value (see
below on exchange-value).

Hence the will
must be asserted as the will absolutely and
not in connection with the particularity of
its objects.

This is realized in ‘alienation’ (Verausserung) of the thing whereby
is accomplished ‘the reflection of the will
back from the thing into itself’ (albeit
through the mediation of things still).

Hegel says: ‘These three are respectively
the positive, negative, and infinite judgements of the will on the thing.’ (para. 53;
see Enc para.172-3).

Let us examine the actual content of
these ‘judgements’ more closely.

The positive judgement is signified by ‘taking
possession’ of the thing ‘(a) by directly
grasping it physically (12), (b) by forming
it, and (c) by merely marking it as ours’


The extraordinarily idealist
manner in which Hegel ‘shows his mastery
over things’ through taking them into
possession is well exemplified in the
following passage:

‘The notion of the mark … is that the
thing does not count as the thing which
it is but as what it is supposed to
signify ….

By being able to give a
mark to things and thereby to acquire
them, man just shows his mastery over
things. ‘

No comment seems necessary – except to
say that thus clothed with a costume not its
own the individuality of the natural object
is estranged.

The negative judgement of the
will on the thing is signified in its use to
satisfy needs (and this is ‘a still more
universal relation to the thing’ (para.59A)
than marking); yet, lest we should be
tempted to look here for a material content,
Hegel reminds us that use is only a moment
in the development of ‘the will’s relation

to the thing’ (para.53).

For example,
‘squatting’ is rejected thus:

‘The fact that property is realized and
actualized only in use floats before the
minds of those who look upon property as
derelict and a res nullius if it is not
being put to any use, and who excuse its
unlawful occupancy on the ground that it
has not been used by its owner.

But the
owner’s will, in accordance with which a
thing is his, is the primary substantive
basis of property; use is a further
modification of property, secondary to
that universal basis, and is only its
manifestation and particular mode. ‘

It is also very striking that Hegel considers that it is not the specific utility of a
thing as related to a definite need but its
universality as value (‘abstracted from the
thing’s specific quality’) ‘wherein its
genuine substantiality becomes determinate
and an object of consciousness’ (para.63).

He comments further on the commensurability
of values: ‘The advance of thought here
therefore is from the specific quality of a
thing to indifference to this specificity,
i.e. to Quantity’ (para.63A). One cannot
but agree with Knox (13) that it is because
‘value is a concept existing for thought,
not sensation, that it ‘is the genuine substance of the thing’ for Hegel, in spite of
(or rather because of?) the fact that: ‘If
we consider the concept of value, we must
look on the thing itself only as a symbol;
it counts not as itself but as what it is
worth’ (para.63A) (14).

Commodity Fetishism confuses this
peculiar social form – value – with the
body of the commodity and hence naturalizes

Hegel goes one better by declaring
this social form form as such – as immediate
the thing is formless, a mere ‘show’.

lifts himself above the fetishism of the
commodity-body when he declares the value
form to be-a-8ocial mediation; but then
instead of affirming the natural form of
the object he declares this social form itself to be the substantive actuality of the
thing, thus ending by fetishizing the

It would hardly be an
exaggeration to see in Hegel’s Absolute, in
which activity is ultimately self-related,
the reflected form of capital’s pure movement (M – M’) which abstracts itself from
use-values and the specificity of their

In the dialectic of ‘the will’s relation
to the thing’ as property, the moment of
alienation, rather than posing any problem
for Hegel, is seen by him as the most
complete actualization of ownership.

By a
typical idealist twist, it is precisely in
this ‘negatively infinite judgement’ on the
thing (‘in which the subject has no relation
whatever to the predicate’ (15)) whereby my
will is reflected ‘back from the thing into
itself’ (para. 53) that, in thus distinguishing myself as an owner rigorously from any
particular content to this proprietorship,
I become a real proprietor!

Possession and use are limited, finite,
relations of the will to property in which
its movement runs aground; but through
teating things mprely as exchangeable

objects, in the endless circle of acquisition and alienation, the will is reflected
into its own self – without getting bogged
down in the natural features of the alienated objects; in this way, the dialectic
progresses to ‘contract’ where the will is
dealing wi th its own other.

‘This relation
of will to will is-the true and proper
ground in which freedom is existent’ (para.


In conclusion: the overriding moment in
the ‘mastery of things exhibited by freewill’ is that which is most removed from
their useful material character, namely the
process of their alienation.

This pushes
forward the actualization of the will to the
form of contract whereby it achieves recognition in another person. Only as a
proprietor among proprietors am I free!

We will come back to Hegel after we have
spent a little time developing the positive
content of Marxian materialism.

3. Marx’s Ontology
Marx uses a materialist criterion to distinguish the fundamental specificity of
human being in Nature (and – let it be said
– insofar as it is a practical and historic7

al criterion also, it is more dialectical
than anything in Hegel):

‘Men can be distinguished from animals
by consciousness, by religion, or anything else you like.

They themselves
begin to distinguish themselves from
animals as soon as they begin to produce
their means of sUbsistence’ (17).

The fundamental human relationship to Nature
lies therefore in labour. Nature is the
objective sphere in which labour realizes
itself through its objectification in a product worked up out of natural objects; as
the object of his activity and the basis of
his subsistence, Nature is constituted for
and by man as his ‘inorganic body’ (18).

Industry is the mediation in which is united
both the identity and difference of human
nature with so-called ‘external’ Nature:

‘the celebrated “unity of man with nature”
has always existed in industry and has
existed in varying forms in every epoch
according to the lesser or greater development of industry, just like the “struggle”
of man with nature’ (19).

In Marx’s materialist ontology, there is
an affirmation of the inter-dependence of
Man and Nature.

The object of labour, for
example, is as ‘self-subsistent’ as the
labourer himself, and proves it through its
resistance to his labours. Man cannot pose
as an autonomous being over against a dependent objective world; even with extensive
development of the productive forces, the
‘cunning of reason’ (20) remains mired in
the ‘realm of necessity’ (21). The proprietor’s ‘absolute mastery over things’ (from
the point of view of legal ideology) is
cruelly complemented by the subordination of
labour to the natural recalcitrance of objects, which exhausts it. Furthermore,
Marx, unlike Hegel, recognises particularity
as such (not purely as a moment to be sublated).

He emphasizes that, when the objective world becomes the objectification of man
and the realization of his powers, the
manner in which the object becomes his
depends on the specificity of the relation
that constitutes its particular mode of
affirmation (22).

The significance of human activity is by
no means limited to the production of
util~ties in the narrow sense.

Marx points
to its fundamental ontological significance:

‘By producing their means of subsistence
men are indirectly producing their
material life …. This mode of production must not be considered simply as
being the reproduction of the physical
existence of the individuals.

Rather it
is a definite mode of life on their part.

As individuals express their life, so
they are.

What they are, therefore,
coincides with their production, both
with what they produce and with how they
produce. Hence what individuals are
depends on the material conditions of
their production’ (23).

This ontological framework stayed constantly at the basis of Marx’s work.

his masterpiece, Capital, Marx sketches the
fundamental bases of man’s production of
himself through labour.

‘Labour is, first of all, a process
between man and nature, a process by

which man, through his own actions,
mediates, regulates and controls the
metabolism between himself and nature …

Through this movement he acts upon
external nature and changes it, and in
this way he simultaneously changes his
own nature’ (24).

The difference between Marx’s materialist
problematic, and Hegel’s idealist one, turns
crucially on the relationship of the object
of activity to that activity. A materialist
point of view, of course, cannot accept
Hegel’s characterization of Nature as
external to itself. Nature is not in itself
external to anything – least of all to

It is a mediated whole in which, if
single isolated things only have a ‘show’ of
self-subsistence, it is not because they
require spirit to incorporate them in its
logical totality, but rather because on
investigation they will be found to depend
on larger natural complexes.

The problem now is: to conceptualize the
status of such things as natural objects
taken up by human activity. The struggle to
wrest the means of subsistence from Nature
grounds that activity in an internal differentiation in which, from the side of man,
Nature is a means of life only as transformed (in accordance with its objective
possibilities in relation to the current
historically developed powers of man) by
productive labour; and for this labour
Nature is now posited as the moment of
immediate material – labour’s object.

this sense, Nature as a realm of essential
objects for labour is man’s ‘inorganic body’.

However, there is no reason why these
essential objects for man shouidhave man
as their essential object! (25) Labour’s
object may be posited as immediate by
labour but it is not so inherently.–It is
of course true that (whereas the animal’s
activity is bounded by particular pre-given
relationships to its environment) man’s
activity, and his relationship to Nature,
is universal.

From this point of view an
object can be put to new uses which – if you
like – are ‘unnatural’ to it.

So, therefore, abstractly considered (and especially
from the point of view of certain social
relations which posit activity as abstract,
whether it is Hegel’s ‘free-will’, or, more
concretely, the production of value by
‘abstract labour’) Nature is reduced to
immediately existing material divorced from
any specific internal connection (its own
mediatedness in natural ecology) or from
particular labour processes.

The abstract
identity in labour’s material disappears,
however, when any concrete useful labour is
actually embarked upon. As Peter Ruben (26)
points out, it cannot then be considered
merely ‘naked matter’; for in showing its
specific resistance it requires specific
adaptations of labour based on knowledge of
its objective specificity. As a corollary
we can understand that labour’s object is
posited as immediate material only as it is
taken up as a moment in the production of
values (27).

A fuither important consequence is that
in the outcome of labour’s mediating activity we find that natural objectivity and
particularity are by no means negated – as

they are for Hegel when the mediation of
mind idealizes the ‘external sphere’.

Productive consumption re-posits the object
a~ an object in that: in consuming the
material it makes use of this consumption
itself in order to transform, while preserving, the material, and the materialized
labour, into the form of a product; and,
while treating the given form of the object
merely as the immediate material moment in
production, it reduces this sublation (of
the objective character of the thing) itself
to a moment, and is hence the positing of
the object, but in a new objective form.

(The dialectical negation of the negation is
not of course the restoration of the origin
of the movement.) On the basis of this new
determinate objective form, the product, as
a particular object, becomes a definite usevalue, more specifically adapted to human
requirements (28).

Marx and Hegel
If we compare this with the Hegelian philosophy of property, we recall that when the
object acquires the ‘mark’ of private
property it is posited as other than Itself,
and that the most significant use then made
of i~ is the suspension of its use for the
purposes of exchange, in which its abstract
universality as a value negates the particularity of its natural form (para.77) (29)
and it becomes the mere bearer of the
identical wills of the proprietors.

Freewill posits the object as other than itself
in that: in marking, using and alienating it,
freewill makes the matter of the thing its
property; and in treating the object as
inherent externality it overtakes the ‘unmediated’ (para.44R) objective character of
the thing in this movement and hence posits
itself, but as objective rather than subjective will.

Because Hegel remains uncritically within
the camp of private property he cannot conceive the (first-order) mediations of man
and nature in industry except through the
prism of (second-order) property relations.

Thus he presents private property as a
fundamental ontological dimension of the
concrete totality manifested in Spirit’s

For Marx, it is a derived

second-order mediation within the fundamental ontological framework of objectification – it is a determinate mode of externality of man to himself and to the conditions
of his labour. Marx does not consider the
natural conditions of labour as immediately
external to man and his powers (except in
the sense that all of nature, including man
and his work, participates in a sensuously
manifest whole).

However, if Nature is
man’s ‘inorganic body’ because it has been
constituted as the essential object of his
activity through the mediation of labour,
then to separate labour-power from its conditions of realjzation by constituting the
latter as private property (whether or not
the means of production are in fact monopolised in consequence) is really to constitute the object as external both to itself
(‘land has nothing to do with rent … ‘ (30)
– Marx) and to labour-power – which latter
is now thrown back ‘(because of the contingency of this external relationship to the
means of production) into ‘subjectivity’

estranged from its objective realm of

(Here is an inversion, if you
like: for Hegel, private property is the
mediation through which subjectivity claims
the external, thus constituting personality;
for Marx, private property is the mediation
whereby personal powers separate themselves
from their objective conditions of expression – one might almost say they are demediated – thus introducing an external
relation between them requiring sUblation
in further mediations – exchange, wages,
etc. – of the estranged moments).

If the
potentially monopolisable means of production are in fact monopolised, the subjective
moment too has to become external to itself
since labour-power can now realize itself in
objective activity only insofar as it is

The consequence is that (in
Marx’s striking phrase) the worker is no
longer at home in his work.

We now turn to Hegel and Marx on alienated labour.

4. Hegel on Personal Powers
Like Locke, Hegel considers the relation
between persons and their labour-power to be
one of property, and also recognizes that as
such labour is alienable.

Unlike Locke, he
recognizes that there is a problem in accounting for the justification and even the very
possibility of such alienation – because he
sees that labour-power is not immediately
‘external’ in the same sense that other
alienable things are.

Before taking up the
question of labour’s alienation then, we
must review Hegel’s account of bodily power.

Hegel considers that men, while free ‘in
their concept’, are not free in their
immediate natural existence. Hegel emphasizes that it is necessary for this concept
of human freedom to be actualized through a
process whereby the natural basis of human
existence is sublated through the mediation
of free mind.

This mediation turns out to
be the evolution of a property once again!

He speaks of ‘the possession of our body and
mind which we can achieve through education
(Bildung), study, habit, etc., and which

exists as an inward property of mind’ (para.


Immediately my ‘bodily organism’ is
merely ‘my external existence’ (para.47) so
that it has to ‘be taken into possession by
mind’ (para.48) through the mediation of the

‘Man, pursuant to his immediate existence
within himself, is something natural,
external to his concept.

It is only
through the development of his own body
and mind, essentially through his selfconsciousness’s apprehension of itself as
free, that he takes possession of himself
and becomes his own property and no one
else’s.’ (par. 57)
We find that for Hegel, just as the world
of nature, as an ‘inherent externality’, is
to be ideally subsumed under the concept of
property, so too our own natural existence
is ‘external to its concept’ and likewise to
be sublated through this same mediation.

are to own ourselves! One of the results of
developing our powers is that we have the
power to treat our powers as mere legal

The phrase ‘he becomes his own
property’ is explicitly given the significance that one can take self-consciousness
and its powers ‘as one’s object’, and,
logically therefore, one’s self-consciousness becomes thereby ‘capable of taking the
form of a “thing'”
(para.57), like any
other, held as property, and, if suitable
mediations may be found (see below), alienated as such.

However, here Hegel runs into
insoluble problems: how can essentially
inward property be held as a ‘thing’ of this
kind? On the one hand it seems that such
sUbstantive characteristics of the person
should be inalienable (31): on the other
hand, Hegel (in an earlier section) recognizes that alienation penetrates this
sphere insofar as mental aptitudes, erudition, skills, attainments, inventions, and
so forth, are ‘brought on a parity through
being bought and sold, with things recognized
as things;’ and yet it seems difficult to
speak of legal possession of such ‘things’

for ‘there is-something inward and mental
about it’ (para.43R).

Hegel attempts to
rationalize this situation as follows:

‘Attainments, erudition, talents, and so
forth, are, of course, owned by free mind
and are something internal and not external to it, but even so, by expressing
them it may embody them in something
external and alienate (veraussern) them
and in this way they are put into
the category of ‘things’.

Therefore they
are not immediate at the start but only
acquire this character through the mediation of mind which reduces its inner
possessions to immediacy and externality’


This does not seem very satisfactory, but
instead of amplifying the point Hegel backs
away from it:

‘In this sphere we are concerned with
mental aptitudes, erudition, &c., only
in so far as they are possessions in a
legal sense; … it is not until we come
to deal with alienation (Verausserung)
that we need begin to speak of the
transition of such mental property into
the external world where it falls under
the category of property in the legal

sense’ (par. 43R).

Nevertheless, Hegel was forced eventually to
recognize that he fails to cope with a new
problem here – that of externalisation for he notes in the margin (that is, after
publication of the book) with respect to the
use of the word ‘alienation’ here: ‘It would
be better to speak here of a mode of externality.

Alienation is giving up something
which is my property and which is already
external, it is not to externalize’ (32).

In other words, we cannot cheerfully subsume
the problem away under the process of ‘alienation’ for, if alienation is of something
‘external by nature’, then it has to be
shown how my ‘inner possessions’ acquire the
‘mode of externality’, and whether or not
this is contrary to their concept.

It would
seem that we require a particularly subtle
‘mediation of mind’ whereby these inner
possessions, acquired so that I become ‘my
own property’, achieve a ‘mode of externality’ on the basis of which they are alienable
on a par with ‘things’ yet without estranging
personality from itself.

The Sale of Labour-Power
At all events, Hegel certainly regards
spiritual possessions, such as conscience,
as inalienable, while cheerfully accepting
the alienation of external things embodying
a person’s powers (paras.43 and 67).

former are supposed to involve the substance
of personality whereas the latter are merely
particular single objectifications of my

Leaving aside any problems that
might arise with a person’s prod~cts, what
of the alienation of personal material
powers themselves? The alienation of
material powers ought to pose difficulties
for Hegel, for, in spite of his identification of the person with ‘self-consciousness’,
he admits the peculiar status of the body
once the will has taken possession of it,
and says clearly that I, and my freedom,
exist for others only as embodied (para.48R).

Hence it would seem to follow that the
worker lacks freedom while labouring for
another, albeit that he might ‘abstract himself’ from the routine of production and
absorb himself in dreaming up dirty jokes,
for example.

If I possess my labour-power
only because I have made my body my own in
such a way that its powers only exist as
powers developed by my will, Hegel should
find it paradoxical that my abilities could
yet be posited in the mode of exteriority
required for their alienation.

Hegel certainly regards slavery as incompatible with the Idea of Freedom, but he
makes an ingenious distinction between wagelabour and slavery, whereby the former may
be endorsed by ‘the concept’:

‘Single products of my particular physical
and mental skill and of my power to act
I can alienate (Verausserung) to someone
else and I can give him the use of my
abilities for a restricted period,
because, on the strength of this restriction, my abilities acquire an external
relation to the totality and universality
of my being.

By alienating the whole of
my time, as crystallized in my work, and

everything I produced, I would be making
into another’s property the substance of
my being, my universal activity and
actuality, my personality.’

(par.67) (33)
And he explains in the Remark:

‘It is only when use is restricted that a
distinction arises between use and substance.

So here, the use of my powers
differs from my powers and therefore
from myself, only insofar as it is
quantitatively restricted.’

It seems, then, that Hegel admits that my
labour-power is part of the substance of my
personality – an essentially inward property
insofar as I am in possession of myself.

However, as he noted earlier (para.43R), it
might be possible that in expressing my
powers I reduce them – ‘through a mediation
of mind’ – to ‘immediacy and externality’.

Although not immediately external at the
start, labour-power may be externalized
through some mediation.

Here, in this discussion of the alienation of the use of my
powers, the mediation required is identified
with the time-limit which creates a distinction between use and substance (even though
the sUbstance of my power is nothing but
‘the totality of its manifestations’ (para.

67R): ‘On the strength of this restriction,
my abilities require an external relation
to the totality and universality of my
being. ‘

The trouble with Hegel’s distinction
between entire alienation and alienation
piece by piece – a distinction which is
supposed to guarantee the independence of
the worker’s personality – is that it breaks
down when one considers the possibility which is effectively realized in the case of
modern wage-labour – that, through successive piecemeal alienations of my time, my
entire labour-time is appropriated by others.

Either Hegel must take his equation of the
totality of the manifestations of my labourpower with that power itself in a material
sense and criticize wage-slavery; or else he
will have to posit that from an idealist
standpoint the substance of my power is its
status as property rather than the totality
of its potential manifestations. For the
powerful person there is substituted the
legal person who remains himself alone even
when effectively relinquishing his entire
power to others.

Legal ideology in its pure
form would accept the substance itself as
external property like other ‘things’.

is only Hegel’s instinct for the non-legal
essense of possession based on Bildung that
prevents him assuming that; but he capitulates to piecemeal reification.

What is a
‘thing’ in pieces is all of a piece a

Only the position that the substance of labour-power is itself alienable
property will justify wage-slavery and if
that is reificatory because it treats inward
property as an external ‘thing’, then the
pieces are inwardly ‘substantive’ as well,
and their alienation is an offence against
personality. The substance of the coalminer thrown on the scrap-heap with ‘black
lung’ has certainly wasted away in the
service of the employer, notwithstanding
that ‘a distinction between use and substance arises’ in virtue of the miner’s

selling himself piece by piece instead of
into explicit slavery.

If the worker’s
entire labouring time is alienated, then
his distinction from a slave is surely
reduced to his legal status, while materially he is in slavery to capital.

However, these quantitative considerations may be left at this point; for there
is a deeper, qualitative, incoherence in
Hegel’s endorsement of wage-slavery.

To say that the time restriction effects
an ‘external relation’ between the use of
my powers and my substantive possession of
them is inadequate, because Hegel fails here
(para.67) to deal with the same point that
was missed in the earlier (para.43R) discussion.

Even if the time-limit may satisfy
the criterion for the continuation of an
independent legal personality throughout
piecemeal alienations of labour-power, it
does not deal with the problems arising when
the transition of such personal power into
the ‘mode of exteriority’ is attempted such
that ‘it falls under the category of property in the legal sense’, that is (having
been ‘reduced to immediacy and externality’)
alienable to another to be made use of by
him for however limited a period.

says, at one point, that if I am given the
use of something that remains the property
of someone else ‘there would remain in the
thing something impenetrable by me, namely
the will, the empty will, of another’ (para.


Does the alienation of labour-power
reduce the status of its original possessor
to that of an ’empty will’? The situation
is clearly more complicated; with wagelabour the worker is present in his work as
much more than an empty will; ~Qr, since
his power only exists insofar’as he is ‘in
possession of himself’ and he has developed
it as essentially ‘inward property’, it is


not a ‘thing external by nature’ but is
itself will-with-thing, so to speak.

developing the powers of my ‘brains, nerves,
and muscles’ I remove their immediately
external character and they become my
inward possessions (to use Hegel’s terminology).

The mediation which my labour-power
is yielded ‘to the will of another … as a
res nullius’ (para.65) cannot consist,
therefore, in my withdrawing out of myself,
leaving behind only my ’empty will’ to mark
my right to recover my powers. The powers
of my brains, nerves, and muscles exist
only insofar as I am present in exercising

If they are to be alienated, these
powers must be externalized; but they can
only be externalized if they are objectified
in production, and this latter requires, not
the exclusion of my will, but my own use of
my powers, however grudgingly.

The worker’s
will is not in his powers like a squatter in
a house – to be ejected or ignored. Getting
him to exercise them in the service of
another therefore requires the subordination
of his will to the other’s.

There are two problems with labour’s
e~ternalization that arise from this fact.

One is a problem for the purchaser of the
use-value, labour-power: how is he to effect
its externalization if this must involve
subordination of the worker’s will? (We
advert to this central question below; we
postpone it for now – until we have raised
it on the basis of Marx’s work.) The other
problem arises for Hegel’s apologetic.

this point there comes.home the contradiction implicit in Hegel’s view of personal
powers as, on the one hand, inward property
actualizing freedom, and, on the other,
potentially externalized property held
mediatedly as an alienable ‘thing’.

this second relation is realized in the
alienation of labour the will exists in
contradiction with itself: for, in Hegel’s
general theory, the moment of alienation
establishes the will as will through its
reflection from the thing; in the contractual relation with the other’s will, symmetrically mediated in the ‘thing’, it becomes
‘identical’ with its other and both equally
achieve objective-recognition: but, since
the. ‘thing’ here itself embodies-the will,
as we have seen, the externalizing mediations presuppose an asymmetrical relationship, in which one will bends to the other,
being thus ‘refracted’ rather than
‘reflected’ (so to speak) in this aljenation.

This is nothing less than selfestrangement.

5. Marx’s Theory of Alienated Labour
The contradiction between the symmetry of
the wage-labour contract effected by autonomous, juridically equal, persons, and the
asymmetry of the employer’s relationship
during the working day to his ‘hands’ (to
employ the striking vernacular of capital),
finds its way into the textbooks of the
bourgeois ideologists from reality.

reality disguises the relations of personal
dominance inherent in wage-slavery by
reifying the personal powers of the labourer
so that they become a ‘factor of production’


like any other.

The factors of production
themselves are posited as inherently external to one another and media table only
through the valorisation process brought
about within the movement of capital.

lies at the basis of all this is the
estrangement of labour from its conditions
of actualization and itself. This was
first brought to light in that extraordinary
text of Marx’s: the chapter on Estranged
Labour in his 1844 Manuscripts.

Let us
review that, very briefly. The poor situation of the modern wage-worker is reflected
first of all in the fact that the objectification of his labour in the product is no
confirmation of his powers, but their
estrangement, in that the product is not
his but the property of his employer.


‘The externalization (Entausserung) of the
worker in his product means not only that
his labour becomes an object, an external
existence, but that it exists outside him,
independently of him and alien (fremd) to
him, and begins to confront him as an
autonomous power; that the life which he
has bestowed on the object confronts him
as hostile and alien.’ (34)
Moreover, if we are concerned about the
estrangement between the worker and his
product, it is necessary also to look at the
character of the activity that effects it.

‘How could the product of the worker’s
activity confront him as something alien
(fremd) if it were not for the fact that
in the act of production he was estranging himself from himself. After all, the
product is simply the r€sum€ of the
activity, of the production. So …

production itself must be active alienation, the alienation (Entausserung) of
activity, the activity of alienation.

The estrangement of the object of labour
merely summarises the estrangement
(Entfremdung), the alienation in the
activity of labour itself.’ (35)
Marx describes the situation in the
following striking terms:

‘Labour is external to the worker, i.e. it
does not belong to his essential being;
… he therefore does not confirm himself
in his work but denies himself ….


the worker feels h~mself only when he is
not workjng; when he is working he does
not feel himself.

He is at home’when he
is not working, and not at home when he
is working.

His labour is therefore not
voluntary but forced, it is forced labour.

It is therefore not the satisfaction of a
need but a mere means to satisfy needs
outside itself….

In it he belongs not
to himself but to another.’ (36)
In sum: the worker views his product – and
his very labour – as external to him; ~is
production is the activity of ~xternallz~­
tion; his objectification of hlS powers lS
their alienation; and his activity is
‘directed against himself’ insofar as it
produces and reproduces his ‘self-estrangement’ – his estrangement from himself, his
work, and’ his world (37).

Terminological Excursus
I am going to argue that Marx’s theory is
insufficiently clarified conceptually – but
to introduce this point it will be useful
to examine some of the terminology employed
and the difficulties that have faced translators – difficulties which I will argue
flow from a certain condensation in the
employment of the expressions themselves.

There are three key terms:

(1) Vergegenst~ndlichung: objectification.

(2) Entfremdung: estrangement; alienation.

(3) Ent~usserung: alienation (of property);
parting with; renunciation; relinquishment; externalization.

Let us examine these in turn:

(1) ‘Objectification’, as should be clear
from our earlier discussion, is employed
when Marx is dealing with the natural and
essential expression of labour in its product.

In the context of the first-order
mediations (logically prior to the secondorder mediations: alienated labour and
private property) it is confirmation of
man’s activity: ‘through it nature appears
as his work and his reality … he can
therefore contemplate himself in a world he
himself has created’ (38).

(2) ‘Entfremdung’ has the sense of ‘making

It is used in cases of interpersonal estrangement for whjch English also
uses ‘alienation’ (following Latin: alienare
~ (a) to make another’s, transfer ownership;
(b) to cause a separation (interpersonal

However, it should be
noticed that whereas English, following
Latin uses the term ‘alienation’ in the
sense’of transfer of ownership in legalcommercial contexts, ‘Entfremdung’ would not
be used in such contexts and therefore its
meaning maps more naturally on to ‘estrangement’.

I agree with Istvan Meszaros (39)
that Marx uses ‘Entfremdung’ to express ~he
fact that man is being opposed by a hostlle
power of his own making.

(3) ‘Ent~usserung’: one should note here
that the root ‘~usserung’ means ‘manifestation’ and that the prefix ‘ent’ indicates
establishment of or entry into a new state
or relinquishment of an old state.

in combination we see that the sense is that
something is manifested in such a way as to
change its state.

The sense of relinquish-

ment comes out strongly when Marx makes the
following contrast between the root and its
modification in connection with life:

‘Private property is only the sensuous
expression of the fact that man becomes
objective for himself and at the same
time becomes an alien and inhuman object
for himself, and his expression of life
(Lebens~usserung) in his alienation of
life (Lebenstent~usserung).’ (40)
‘Ent~usserung’ would naturally be translated
as ‘alienation’ in legal-commercial contexts
involving transfer of ownership.

The problem is that unlike ‘alienation’ it also has
the sense of ‘externalization’ and appears
therefore in other contexts besides (41).

It will be noted that, with regard to the
two crucial terms (Entfremdung and EntRUSserung) which may be translated as
‘alienation’ (42), we have three concepts:

(a) estrangement; (b) alienation of property
to another; (c) externalization.

The translators have adopted different solutions to
this complexity, and we append their
versions below.

In my view, the problem is not simply one
of translation but that this reflects a
certain fuzzin~ss in Marx’s own expressions.

The problem for translators appears as
‘three into two won’t go’, but it really
boils down to the rendition of ‘Entausserung’.

There is no good reason not to
select ‘estrangement’ for ‘Entfremdung’

except that the adjectival usage is not very
idiomatic: ‘The product becomes strange to
the worker’ sounds ‘strange’ to be sure~
More idiomatic is ‘alien to’.

the conceptual content of ‘Entfremdung’ is
univocal and maps on to ‘estrangement’ as
we have argued above.

The problem remains that we have to
choose between ‘alienation’ and ‘externalization’ for ‘Ent~usserung’.

Milligan and
Benton, who both prefer the former, nevertheless occasionally feel forced to resort
to the latter, thus indicating a genuine

If all alienation were of
‘things external by nature’ then all occurrences would be equivalent in that the
change of state implicit in the term could
only refer (in the conditions dealt with by
political economy) to the transfer of ownership.

This is indeed how the matter appears
to the ideological consciousness caught up
in the toils of reification.

It knows of
no problematic of ‘externalization’ as a
presupposition of alienation.

However, if
we penetrate this reification then we
understand that, whatever might be the case
with the means of production (see above),
labour-power is surely internally related
to its owner as his peculiar possession.

We must therefore distinguish the moment of
externalization from the moment of alienation for to alienate is to treat something
as aiready external property, it is not to

The use of ‘Ent~usserung’ in
Marx condenses these two moments and they
need to be separated.

I suggest that the problem of ‘alienation’ comprises three distinct moments.

need the following three terms:

(1) ‘Externalization’ – for the process
whereby a person’s labour-power is

expressed in such a way as to be treated
as immediately external property.

(2) ‘Alienation’ – for the transfer of such
property to some other agency.

(3) ‘Estrangement’ – for the consequences
of the subordination of the person to
his own externalized powers. Objectification of my powers in working up
nature becomes at the same time estrange
ment in the conditions dealt with by
political economy, i.e. wage-labour.

Alienated Labour and Private Property
This clarification of the conceptual framework of Marx’s theory of alienation helps
us to understand that passage in the 1844
Manuscripts which has mystified many
commentators (43) – that in which private
property is posited not as the cause but as
the consequence of labour’s estrangement.

It seems that it is the movement of private
property which separates the worker from his
means of production and constitutes his
labour-power as a commodity like any other,
thus estranging him from his labour. Marx
says that this view inverts the real relation (44).

I suggest that this is because
the estrangement inherent in the capitalist
labour-process is not an epiphenomenon of
the property relations of the wage-contract
but a pre-condition of its making sense to
posit labour-power as alienable property;
because before anything can be alienated an
external relation must exist, or be potenti~
ally realizable, between it and its present

The estrangement of labour-power
from its conditions of expression, and its
own self, is presupposed by such private

In order to uncover the real
relationship ‘alienated labour’ must be
given conceptual priority over ‘private
property’ .

As far as the material practice is concerned, the interest of the capitalist in
appropriating the use-value of labour means
that labour-power is alienable only if the

capitalist is confident he has ways and
means of externalizing this labour-power in
an appropriable form.

No capitalist would
buy my immortal soul – for such alienation
would remain notional without the possibility of introducing the relation of
externality required for the realization of
another’s property in it. The devil alone
knows how such a purchaser would occupy,
use, or even mark, it as his.

With most commodities the contract of
sale, and acquisition of the use-value, are
concluded more or less at the same time.

the case of wage-labour there is a problem
for the capitalist in that after hiring the
worker he must find ways of enforcing
performance of work with desired quality
and in maximum quantity. For labour-power
to exist as alienated property an external
relation between the worker and his work
must be set up; but this is not given in the
wage-contract itself; it must be realized in
the labour-process.

The history of the
capitalist labour-process is not merely one
of increasing efficiency through technical
improvements but also one of the increasing
subordination of labour to the will of the

From this point of view capita~
ist exploitation is not a merely quantitative matter of getting something for nothing
– analogous to merchant profit – it is a
qualitative matter of subordinating the
worker to the aims and methods of the
capitalist so that surplus labour can – in
Marx’s graphic phrase – ‘be pumped out of

The problem of management is the
problem of this ‘pumping out’ through the
institution of all sorts of controls and
pressures which tend towards the supplantation of the worker’s autonomous exercise
of his powers.

The factory organisation
constitutes a collective worker which is
under the sway of capital and in the face
of which the personality of the individual
worker is effaced.

The worker reproduces his estrangement
every day insofar as his externalized
labour accumulates as ‘dead labour’ at the
pole of capital, reconstituting its domination over his living labour, and the necessity for him to alienate his labour-power
piece by piece.

Private property is the mediation in and
through which labour is estranged from
itself; it is the expression of the estrang~
ment of labour from its objective conditions
and itself (45).

In the works of the bourgeois ideologists
such as Locke and Hcgel the estranged consciousness expresses in an uncritical way
the external relation thus established
between the person, his powers, and his

In their eyes, a person appropriates
this world as private property, and is even
presented as the owner of his individuality;
but since the actualization of the property
relation presupposes alienability no coherent account of personality can be given; a
person both is, and is not, constituted
through the development of his powers and
their objectification through activity in
the material world.


For Marx the critique of private property
leads to the unveiling of its secret: that
it is the historically developed form
through which the development of human
powers, and the humanisation of Nature, has
been realized, but in estranged form.

abolition of private property is significant
for him insofar as it amounts to the reappropriation by humanity of their essential
powers and essential objects (46).



Appendix – Translations
(Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Moscow, n.d. and
also – revised Struik – in Marx-Engels Collected Works Vol.3,
London 1975)
Entfremdung = Estrangement
Ent~usserung = Alienation (or externalization)
(Karl Marx Early Writings, London 1963)
Entfremdung & Ent~usserung = Alienation (or estrangement)
‘since Marx (unlike Hegel) does not make a systematic
distinction between them’ (p.xix).

Easton & Guddat
(Writings of the Young Marx, New York 1967)
Entfremdung – Alienation
Ent~usserung = Externalization


(Karl Marx Early Texts, Oxford 1971)
Entfremdung – Alienation
Ent~usserung = Externalization
(Karl Marx Early Writings, Harmondsworth, Middx. 1974)
Entfremdung – Estrangement
Ent~usserung = Alienation (or externalization)



Hegels eigenh~ndige Randbemerkungen zu seiner Rechtsphilosophie,
hrsg. von G. Lasson (Leipzig 1930), p29.

Quoted from Knox’s
note 16 to Hegel’s Philusophy of Right, p322.

The German is
readily available in Hoffmeister’s edition of the Grundlinien
der Philosophie des Rechts (Hamburg 1955), to which the notes
are appended: ‘w~re besser hier als Art von Ausserlichen
aufzufUhren – Ver~usserung ist das Aufgeben eines schon
Ausserlichen, das mein Eigentum ist, – nicht erst das Aussern.’


Marx quotes this approvingly in Capital, Ch.6, p272.

Werke, p512; EW, p324.

Werke, p514; EW, p326; CW3, p274.


Werke, p515; EW, p327.

EW, p329.

I. Meszaros, Marx’s Theory of Alienation (London 1970), p313.

CW3, p299; EW, p351.

According to Lukacs, Fichte originated its philosophical career:

G. Lukacs, The Young Hegel (London, 1975), p538.

To complete the picture we should note:

(4) ‘Vec~usserung’ is another (more usual) equivalent of the
English legal-commercial sense of ‘alienation’, which could be
translated simply as ‘sale’.

In Hegel’s Philosophy of Right
he uses it interchangeably with ‘Ent~usserung’, so much so that,
whereas in paragraph 53 we are promised a three-fold dialectic
of the will’s relation to the thing as property ending with
‘¥) die Reflexion des Willens in sich aus der Sache Ver~usserung’, yet if we turn to the relevant final paragraphs
of the section on property we read ‘C. Ent~usserung des

(Both terms appear as ‘Alienation’ in the English
translation of course.) However, it is noticeable that when
Hegel speaks of alienation in a critical context he chooses
‘Ent~usserung’; for example in the remark to paragraph 66:

‘Alienation (Ent~usserung) of personality …. ·
In On the Jewish Question Marx says: ‘Die Ver~usserung ist die
Praxis der Ent~usserung’ (Werke, p376; EW, p241).

R. Schacht (Alienation, London 1971), unable to believe Marx
means what he says, goes to the length of misquoting him: ‘And
he contends that the dominance of the institution of private
property “is the basis and cause of alienated labour” … ‘

(pl08); the alleged quote from Marx in fact reads “appears
to be (erscheint) the basis and cause …. ” as the Bottomore
translation Schacht refers us to actually says (pI31).

EW, p332.










See the German Ideology, Marx-Engels Collected Works 5 (London
1976), pp228-29.

CW5, p231.

The role of labour in his Phenomenology I will take up on
another occasion.

See Marx, K. Capital Vol.One (‘Penguin’ translation 1976),

For these moves in Locke, see also C.B.

Macpherson’s careful analysis in The Political Theory of
Possessive Individualism (Oxford 1962).

G.W.F.Hegel, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts Neu
Nerausgegeben von Georg Lasson Zweite Auflage (Leipzig 1921);
Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. T.M. Knox (Oxford 1952).

Paragraph numbers in the text are given from these editions;
‘R’ = Remark by Hegel in smaller print than the main paragraph; ‘A’ = Addition, culled from notes taken at Hegel’s
lectures, appended to relevant paragraphs by Gans in his
1833 and 1854 editions, but relegated to appendices by Lasson
and by Knox.

I restore many emphases omitted by Knox.

See especially in this connection, paras.195, 244-45.

Hegels Logic (being Part One of the ‘Encyclopaedia of the
Philosophical Sciences’ – paras.I-244), trans. W. Wallace
(third edition, Oxford 1975); para.244.

Enc para.247.

Two English translations exist of this part of
the Encyclopaedia (paras.245-376): Hegel’s Philosophy of
Nature edited and translated by M.J. Petry (Vol.One, London
1970); Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature (being Part Two of the
‘Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences’), trans. A.V.

Miller (Oxford 1970).

Okonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844′ in
Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels Werke Erg~nzungsband.

bis 1844.

Erster Teil (Dietz-Verlag, Berlin 1968), p.587.

Karl Marx, Early Writings (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975),

Marx-Engels Collected Works Vol.3 (London 1975), p346.

Werke, p588; CW3, p346.

Enc para.246A.

Marx makes fun of all this in Capital Vol.3 (Moscow 1962),
p601, 1126.

Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, p326.

This remark of Hegel’s is cited by Marx in Capital Vol.One,
Ch.2, p185, nIl.

Enc para.173A.

See para.74.

Also R. Plant (Hegel, London 1973, pl~5) is
good on the dialectic of unity and difference here.

GI in CW5, p31.

EW, pp 324,325,328.

Capital Vol.One, p285.

GI in CW5, p40.

Hegel Enc para.209A; Marx, Capital Vol.One, Ch.7, p285 n.

Capital Vol.Three, p800.

Werke, p541; EW, pp352-53; see also Werke, pp562-63; EW, p375.

GI in CW5, pp31-32.

Compare also EW~5.

Capital Vol.One, Ch.7, Sec.l, p283.

But compare Marx, EW, p390.

Ruben’s critique (see note 27) drawn on here and below is
actually directed against A. Schmidt, but since the latter is
accused of Hegelianism the points may be taken as applying to
the master himself.

p. Ruben, ‘Problem und Begriff der Naturdialektik’ in his
Dialektik und Arbeit der Philosophie (Koln 1978), p156.

Grundrisse (Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1973), pp300-01.

also Capital Vol.One, pp287-90.

Compare Marx’s Capital, p179, with para.77.

GI in CW5, p230.

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