Marx’s Fourth Type of Alienation

In the article above, journalist Joe Coscarelli is writing an opinion piece about Chelsea Clinton’s recent departure from NBC. Clinton made about $600,000 annually for just a few contributions, prompting the fairly condescending tone of the article. Clinton is arguably a journalist in name only, so Coscarelli’s criticism may be justified to the extent that he is criticizing the media, or making a political statement, but it cannot be ignored that these two figures work in the same industry. This is good example of Marx’s fourth type of alienation. Presumably, Coscarelli had to go through a similarly difficult process as any other journalist while building his career, while Clinton was offered her correspondent gig largely due to her celebrity. It is difficult to imagine a situation where Clinton’s employment with NBC could truly damage Coscarelli’s well-being, yet his sense of resentment is understandable through Marx’s alienation theory. Marx would assert that before capitalism labor was a collective effort, but in a capitalist system workers compete with one another on their own, trying to further their own private gain. This experience alienates the workers from one another. In this sense, Clinton’s celebrity offers her an advantage over Coscarelli that he may never be able to overcome. To many of us, it may seem unreasonable to resent someone you’ve never met, but it is the competitive nature of capitalism that breeds this sort-of alienation.



Hello world,

I’m a super mega hyper senior at VCU, and I plan to graduate in December. I’m enrolled in the Political Science program, with a concentration in public policy and administration, and I’m also working to complete a minor in sociology. I’m from NOVA but I’ve also lived in California, New Orleans and Egypt. I’ll be using this site primarily to interact with Dr. Johnson’s sociology project for her SOCY 402-002 section.  Thanks for reading!

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