For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

References for Theme: "Fragment on Machines"

  • Marx, Karl
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.692) once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labour passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (system of machinery: the automatic one is merely its most complete, most adequate form, and alone transforms machinery into a system), set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself; this automaton consisting of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as its conscious linkages. In the machine, and even more in machinery as an automatic system, the use value, i.e. the material...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.693) The production process has ceased to be a labour process in the sense of a process dominated by labour as its governing unity. Labour appears, rather, merely as a conscious organ, scattered among the individual livingworkers at numerous points of the mechanical system; subsumed under the total process of themachinery itself, as itself only a link of the system, whose unity exists not in the living workers, butrather in the living (active) machinery, which confronts his individual, insignificant doings as a mightyorganism. In machinery, objectified labour confronts living labour within the labour process itself asthe power which rules it; a power which,...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.694) In machinery, objectified labour materially confronts living labour as a ruling power and as an active subsumption of the latter under itself, not only by appropriating it, but in the real production process itself; the relation of capital as value which appropriates value creating activity is, in fixed capital existing as machinery, posited at the same time as the relation of the use value of capital to the use value of labour capacity; further, the value objectified in machinery appears as a presupposition against which the value-creating power of the individual labour capacity is an infinitesimal, vanishing magnitude; the production in enormous mass quantities which...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.700) To the degree that labour time -- the mere quantity of labour -- is posited by capital as the soledeterminant element, to that degree does direct labour and its quantity disappear as the determinantprinciple of production -- of the creation of use values -- and is reduced both quantitatively, to a smallerproportion, and qualitatively, as an, of course, indispensable but subordinate moment, compared togeneral scientific labour, technological application of natural sciences, on one side, and to the generalproductive force arising from social combination [Gliederung] in total production on the other side -- acombination which appears as a natural fruit of...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.704) In machinery, the appropriation of living labour by capital achieves a direct reality in this respect as well: It is, firstly, the analysis and application of mechanical and chemical laws, arising directly out of science, which enables the machine to perform the same labour as that previously performed by the worker. However, the development of machinery along this path occurs only when large industry has already reached a higher stage, and all the sciences have been pressed into the service of capital; and when, secondly, the available machinery itself already provides great capabilities. Invention then becomes a business, and the application of science to direct production itself...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.705) Labour no longer appears so much to be included within the production process; rather,the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself.(What holds for machinery holds likewise for the combination of human activities and the developmentof human intercourse.) No longer does the worker insert a modified natural thing [Naturgegenstand] asmiddle link between the object [Objekt] and himself; rather, he inserts the process of nature,transformed into an industrial process, as a means between himself and inorganic nature, mastering it.He steps to the side of the production process instead of being its chief actor. In...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.708) The creation of a large quantity of disposable time apart from necessary labour time for societygenerally and each of its members (i.e. room for the development of the individuals’ full productiveforces, hence those of society also), this creation of not-labour time appears in the stage of capital, as ofall earlier ones, as not-labour time, free time, for a few. What capital adds is that it increases the surpluslabour time of the mass by all the means of art and science, because its wealth consists directly in theappropriation of surplus labour time; since value directly its purpose, not use value. It...
    • Grundrisse (1993)
      (p.712) It goes without saying, by the way, that direct labour time itself cannot remain in the abstract antithesis to free time in which it appears from the perspective of bourgeois economy. Labour cannot become play, as Fourier would like, although it remains his great contribution to have expressed the suspension not of distribution, but of the mode of production itself, in a higher form, as the ultimate object. Free time – which is both idle time and time for higher activity – has naturally transformed its possessor into a different subject, and he then enters into the direct production process as this different subject. This process is...
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