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Imagine life from Marx and Engel’s Point of View

April 13, 2011

I’m sure everyone has had that job or even class that we absolutely dread.  Every second of every day is dreadful.  The clock ticks slower and slower every minute, and the entire time feels like an eternity.  After reading selections from The Germany Ideology by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, it made me wonder and question the type of lifestyle we live in our everyday lives.  Think about this way: for most schools, when we begin college (and even before that in some cases) we are forced to choose a “direction” or “concentration.”  Granted that this concentration may not always be where we end up later in life, it certainly limits certain parts of life.  We are limited to take certain classes in order to fulfill our “requirement,” and we are strongly encouraged to join certain clubs, activities, etc.  Everything is essentially planned out for us based on what we choose to be our major.  Then, after school, we are brought into the competitive job world where we look to find the “dream” job.  When you find one job, especially your first one, it is almost necessary to stay there a long time in order to establish a solid career and gain experience.  Even if we do not like a job, we cannot just simply leave and easily go find another without difficulty or suffering the consequences.  Our ultimate goal is to find one career job that will keep us happy and inspired for their rest of our lives.  But how often does everyone find the perfect job?  Is it easy to stay happy with something for 40+ years?  What if we want to try something new?  If we must stay in one place for an extended time and cannot explore other options, how will we ever know what job is right for us?

Marx and Engel argue that when we are forced into one occupation and way of life that is inescapable.  We do not have the luxury of doing one thing one day, and a completely different thing another.  For instance, imagine if you could be a farmer one day, and then a fisherman the next?  Obviously, it would not plausible to continue to switch occupations from day to day.  But what if we switch what we do every year or every five years, or every decade?  Many times, change in anything is good.  Some people in this world become complacent and bored with their job, forcing them to underachieve.  Ultimately, if it was “normal” to switch occupations over a certain period of time, it may give people more of an incentive to work harder, find new solutions, and improve our society in even more ways.  Some of the brightest people today may be restricted to use all of their abilities because of their “one” job.


Now, this way of life may be difficult to maintain and could even bring chaos into the working world, but it is an interesting alternative to think about.  In this day and age, our lives are consumed by a constant schedule that is essentially the same for every day, especially for working people.  We wake up at this time, go to work for x amount of hours, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep.  And do the same thing for every other day.  From week to week, year-to-year, almost nothing changes if you establish a solid career the “right” way in our world.  What if the “right” way was to explore new career paths from time to time, allowing you to discover new horizons?


Wootton, David. “Selections from the German Ideology.” Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 2008. Print.

One Comment
  1. Anna Gwiazdowski permalink
    April 13, 2011 10:48 AM

    I really liked this post because you talked about something that most don’t; the negative consequences of the “college track” that is supposed to prepare us for the “dream job track.” It’s funny when you first come to college and you hear people say, “I’m going to be a doctor, I’m going to be a lawyer, I’m going to be a dentist, I’m going to be a teacher.” Most people end up changing their minds by the end of their first year in college, and many change their minds up until the last possible moment before they won’t be able to graduate on time. I think it’s interesting that society has been constructed this way, considering many preach “live life to the fullest.” I think it can be pretty difficult to do this if you are stuck in a career that you hate. And you are absolutely right; it’s harder to leave a job and find a new one, especially if you have a particular skill set. Marx and Engel are right in the sense that it can be difficult to leave a career path and start all over, especially if one is older. In regards to your final question, I’d like to pose one that’s similar but slightly more geared to college students. What if universities, law schools, grad schools, dental schools, medical schools (and any other school I missed) cut back on requirements, making it easier for students to pursue a number of interests, and take a variety of classes, instead of forcing them into a particular track? Granted one can go to med school and major in English lit, but most students don’t because tackling medical school requirements and a major that has nothing to do with those requirements, can be quite time consuming. I think the benefits of lessening requirements would do far more good for people in the future, considering most human beings have a difficult time staying with one activity for a long period of time (and I don’t mean a few years, I mean 10 plus).

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