None of this sense exist any longer, either in their human form or in their inhuman form -- i.e., not even in their animal form. The crudest modes (and instruments) of human labor reappear; for example, the tread-mill used by Roman slave has become the mode of production and mode of existence of many English workers. It is not only human needs which man lacks -- even his animal needs cease to exist. The Irishman has only one need left -- the need to eat, to eat potatoes, and, more precisely, to eat rotten potatoes, the worst kind of potatoes. But England and France already have a little Ireland in each of their industrial cities... The savage and the animal at least have the need to hunt, to move about, etc., the need of companionship. The simplification of machinery and of labor is used to make workers out of human beings who are still growing, who are completely immature, out of children, while the worker himself becomes a neglected child. The machine accommodates itself to man's weakness, in order to turn weak man into a machine." (Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts , pp. 81-2).
However, Karl Marx had a noble motive behind his ideas: the opportunity for everyone to fully develop their human potential. OpEdNews published a satirical article by Chris Floyd on March 1, 2011, entitled " Revealed! The Ancient Mystery at the Heart of the Worldwide Communist Conspiracy. " Mr. Floyd begins his article as follows:
"Here is the deep, dark secret at the heart of the socialistic Commie Red Pinko Conspiracy--the esoteric doctrine kept hidden by hooded illuminati since time out of mind, revealed at last by Terry Eagelton in the London Review of Books:
'Marx, too, was an artist of sorts. It is often forgotten how staggeringly well-read he was, and what painstaking labour he invested in the literary style of his works. He was eager, he remarked, to get shot of the 'economic crap' of Capital and get down to his big book on Balzac. Marxism is about leisure, not labour. It is a project that should be eagerly supported by all those who dislike having to work. It holds that the most precious activities are those done simply for the hell of it, and that art is in this sense the paradigm of authentic human activity. It also holds that the material resources that would make such a society possible already exist in principle, but are generated in a way that compels the great majority to work as hard as our Neolithic ancestors did. We have thus made astounding progress, and no progress at all.'"
Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America (volume 2, part 3, chapter 21; 1840); made an observation that I believe describes all of us who works to live, rather than lives to work; who is not obsessed with acquiring ever greater amounts of wealth and power; who, unless his own comfort--or that of family or friends--is threatened, would generally prefer to simply be left alone:
"Consider any individual at any period of his life, and you will always find him preoccupied with fresh plans to increase his comfort. Do not talk to him about the interests and rights of the human race; that little private business of his for the moment absorbs all his thoughts, and he hopes that public disturbances can be put off to some other time."
It is not that such individuals are lazy; rather, it is that they would prefer to do something more interesting; something that if they could ever figure out a way to make a living doing it, they would not hesitate to quit their job tomorrow and start their new avocation.
Marx would never have thought that using your spare time solely to get drunk, high, laid, etc., was a worthwhile use of your free-time away from work, any more than he would think mind-numbing hours of repetitive labor was proper use of your time at work. The real essence of Karl Marx's philosophy was an attempt to give meaning to the everyday lives of every man, woman, and child on this planet. His error was in believing that it could be done with a one size fits all solution for the problems of the newly industrialized world.