- According to Marx, life is not economy, but work.
A human life is defined by action / praxis in which humans put at work their properly human potentialities ( intelligence, will) in a social context that allows them to realize the nature of man as " zoon politikon" or " animal socialis".
So I live a human life when I live for workin ( because action / praxis is the essence of human life).
Note : according to Aristotle properly human action ( praxis) is distinguisehed from " poièsis" ( production) ; Marx's point is that production ( labour) is the true praxis.
- Economy represents a total perversion of this natural order. In the economic system, means become ends : money that is only a tool for exchange becomes a goal in itself; men do no longer live for working, but, instead, work for a living. That is, they use their properly human abilities and potentialities as a means to survive, to entertain their life in the biological sense of the term.
As Marx says, work is no longer the expression of life ( a neeed in itself) but the sacrifice of life.
Marx, Wage labour and Capital
"Consequently, labour-power is a commodity which its possessor, the wage-worker, sells to the capitalist. Why does he sell it? It is in order to live.
But the putting of labour-power into action – i.e., the work – is the active expression of the labourer's own life. And this life activity he sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. His life-activity, therefore, is but a means of securing his own existence. He works that he may keep alive. He does not count the labour itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life.
It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another. The product of his activity, therefore, is not the aim of his activity. What he produces for himself is not the silk that he weaves, not the gold that he draws up the mining shaft, not the palace that he builds. What he produces for himself is wages; and the silk, the gold, and the palace are resolved for him into a certain quantity of necessaries of life, perhaps into a cotton jacket, into copper coins, and into a basement dwelling. And the labourer who for 12 hours long, weaves, spins, bores, turns, builds, shovels, breaks stone, carries hods, and so on – is this 12 hours' weaving, spinning, boring, turning, building, shovelling, stone-breaking, regarded by him as a manifestation of life, as life? Quite the contrary. Life for him begins where this activity ceases, at the table, at the tavern, in bed.
The 12 hours' work, on the other hand, has no meaning for him as weaving, spinning, boring, and so on, but only as earnings, which enable him to sit down at a table, to take his seat in the tavern, and to lie down in a bed. If the silk-worm's object in spinning were to prolong its existence as caterpillar, it would be a perfect example of a wage-worker. "