The worker is the subjective manifestation of the fact that capital is man completely lost to himself, just as capital is the objective manifestation of the fact that labor is man lost to himself. But the worker has the misfortune to be a living capital, and, hence, a capital with needs, which forfeits its interest and hence its existence every moment it is not working. As capital, the value of the worker rises or falls in accordance with supply and demand, and even in a physical sense his existence, his life, was and is treated as a supply of a commodity, like any other commodity. The worker produces capital and capital produces him, which means that he produces himself; man as a worker, as a commodity, is the product of this entire cycle. The human properties of man as a worker - man who is nothing more than a worker - exist only insofar as they exist for a capital which is alien to him. But, because each is alien to the other, and stands in an indifferent, external, and fortuitous relationship to it, this alien character inevitably appears as something real. So, soon as it occurs to capital - whether from necessity or choice - not to exist any longer for the worker, he no longer exists for himself; he has no work, and hence no wages, and since he exists not as a man but as a worker, he might just as well have buried himself, starve to death, etc. The worker exists as a worker only when he exists for himself as capital, and he exists as capital only when capital exists for him. The existence of capital is his existence, his life, for it determines the content of his life in a manner indifferent to him. Political economy, therefore, does not recognize the unoccupied worker, the working man insofar as he is outside this work relationship. The swindler, the cheat, the beggar, the unemployed, the starving, the destitute, and the criminal working man are figures which exist not for it, but only for other eyes - for the eyes of doctors, judges, grave-diggers, beadles, etc. Nebulous figures which do not belong within the province of political economy.

Karl Marx Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, written between April and August 1844. Second manuscript: The Relationship of Private Property