For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Why do humans remain central to the knowledge work in the age of robots? Marx’sFragment on machinesand beyond"

by Karakilic, Emrah (2022)


The integration of new technologies into the process of production has recently resuscitated the question of world-without-work. Accounts that regard a workless future as a strong possibility often base their arguments on a body of work that upholds that new machines already tend to eliminate the category of work, including knowledge work. This article challenges this view by revisiting Marx’s Fragment on Machines through the lens of autonomist Marxist writings. It offers an answer to the research question, inscribed in the title, that in contemporary capitalism the principal source of value and wealth lies in the general intellect embodied in living labour, living-knowledge-as-mêtis, that cannot be crystallized in and reproduced by the system of machinery and organizational tools in any meaningful way. The political implications of this argument will be discussed in the conclusion.


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On Marx on Machines, Marx

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