Sunday, October 30, 2011

Capital: Volume 1, Chapter 14 by Karl Marx

Chapter 14: The Division of Labour and Manufacture

- The dual origin of manufacture

  1. "manufacturing period": "extends roughly speaking, from the middle of the sixteenth century to the last third of the eighteenth century." - 455
  2. "Instead of each man being allowed to perform all the various operations in succession, these operations are changed into disconnected, isolated ones, carried on side by side; each is assigned to a different craftsman, and the whole of them together are performed simultaneously by the co-operators. This accidental division is repeated, develops advantages of its own and gradually ossifies into a systematic division of labour." - 456
  3. "this division of labour is a particular sort of cooperation, and many of its advantages spring from the nature of co-operation in general, not from this particular form of it." - 458; competition vs. co-operation
- The specialized worker and his tools

  1. "once this partial labour is established as the exclusive function of one person, the method it employs become perfected...his attention on it teach him by experience how to attain the desired effect with the minimum of exertion." - 458
  2. "the conversion of a partial task into the life-long destiny of a man corresponds to the tendency shown by earlier societies towards making trades hereditary." - 459
- The two fundamental forms of manufacture: heterogeneous and organic

  1. "In watchmaking, that classical example of heterogeneous manufacture, we may study with great accuracy the above-mentioned differentiation and specialization of the instruments of labour which arises from the decomposition of the craftsman's activity." - 463, notes
  2. organic, "The collective worker, formed from the combination of the many specialized workers, draws the wire with one set of tooled-up hands, straightens the wire with another set, armed with different tools, cuts it with another set, points it with another set, and so on. The different stages of the process, previously successive in time, have become simultaneous and contiguous in space." - 464
  3. "The result of the labour of the one is the starting-point for the labour of the other. One worker therefore directly sets the other to work." - 464
  4. "The one-sidedness and the deficiencies of the specialized individual worker become perfections when he is part of the collective worker. The habit of doing only one thing converts him into an organ which operates with the certainty of a force of nature, while his connection with the whole mechanism compels him to work with the regularity of a machine." - 469
- The division of labour in manufacture, and the division of labour in society

  1. "The foundation of every division of labour which has attained a certain degree of development, and has been brought about by the exchange of commodities, is the separation of town from country." - 472
  2. "The division of labour within society is mediated through the purchase and sale of the products of different branches of industry, while the connection between the various partial operations in a workshop is mediated through the sale of labour-power of several workers to one capitalist, who applies it as combined labour-power." - 476
  3. "It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of labour in society than that it would turn the whole of society into a factory." - 477
- The capitalist character of manufacture

  1. "it is a law, springing form the technical character of manufacture, that the minimum amount of capital which the capitalist must possess has to go on increasing. In other words, the transformation of the social means of production and subsistence into capital must keep extending." - 480
  2. "The understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose life is spent in performing a few simple operations...has no occasion to exert his understanding...He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become." - 483, Adam Smith
  3. "It is machines that abolish the role of the handicraftsman as the regulating principle of social production...the technical reason for the lifelong attachment of the worker to a partial function is swept away...the barriers placed in the way of the domination of capital by this same regulating  principle now also fall." - 491

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