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Saturday, February 2, 2019

On The Philosophy of Labor

Karl Marx looked at labor as the very essence of man. He proposed a system of education that was weighted towards labor. In his Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, he says: “When the working class comes to power, as inevitably it must, technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in the working class schools.” He believed that such technical education (vocational training) would make workers fit for “a variety of labors, ready to face any change of production,” thus solving the problems of excessive specialization and redundancy in the division of labor.

Gertrude Himmelfarb, in her book The Roads to Modernity: The British, French, and American Enlightenments, Page 65),  makes the following comment on Marx’s thoughts on education and labor:

"This concept of education was no passing thought on Marx’s part. Almost twenty years earlier, in The Communist Manifesto, he had derided the “bourgeois claptrap” about education, proposing, as an intermediate step on the road to communism, free education with the proviso: “combination of education with industrial production.” One is reminded of Hannah Arendt’s observation that no thinker ever reduced man to an animal laborans as totally as Marx did. Locke made of labor the source of property; Smith made of labor the source of wealth; Marx made of labor the very essence of man."

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