Hegel & Labour

Master Slave

Source: Paul Ashton
Affiliation: Victoria University

In this talk by Paul Ashton, he lays out Hegel's view of labor and it application to today. Hegel, according to Ashton, argues that labor is not merely the thing we do to secure economic subsistence, as the classical Liberal would have you believe. Rather, labor is central to the development of self-consciousness, and by extension freedom. Hegel is the first philosopher to separate civil society from political society, and he argues that civil society tends toward alienating work and poverty unless corrected and controlled by political society (state intervention). Hegel thus challenges the presuppositions underlying classical Liberalism, and offers an alternative ideal society to strive for that can be seen as a middle or third way between Liberalism and Marxism. 

Keywords: Alienation , Community , Exploitation , Government , G.W.F. Hegel , Meaning of Work , Philosophy , Psychology