For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work


by Marx, Karl (1993)

Key Passage

[It is,] hence, the tendency of capital to give production a scientific character; direct labour [is]reduced to a mere moment of this process. As with the transformation of value into capital, so does itappear in the further development of capital, that it presupposes a certain given historical developmentof the productive forces on one side -- science too [is] among these productive forces -- and, on theother, drives and forces them further onwards. Thus the quantitative extent and the effectiveness (intensity) to which capital is developed as fixed capital indicate the general degree to which capital is developed as capital, as power over living labour, and to which it has conquered the production process as such. Also, in the sense that it expresses the accumulation of objectified productive forces, and likewise of objectified labour. However, while capital gives itself its adequate form as use value within the production process only in the form ofmachinery and other material manifestations of fixed capital, such as railways etc. (to which we shallreturn later), this in no way means that this use value -- machinery as such -- is capital, or that itsexistence as machinery is identical with its existence as capital; any more than gold would cease tohave use value as gold if it were no longer money. Machinery does not lose its use value as soon as itceases to be capital. While machinery is the most appropriate form of the use value of fixed capital, itdoes not at all follow that therefore subsumption under the social relation of capital is the most appropriate andultimate social relation of production for the application of machinery. (p.699)


No Keywords


Science and Work, Automation


Fowkes, B.



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