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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Today's Automation and Marx's Capital--"Machinery and Large-Scale Industry"

"The instrument of labour, when it takes the form of a machine, immediately becomes a competitor of the [worker]…The self-expansion of capital by means of machinery is thenceforward directly proportional to the number of the workpeople, whose means of livelihood have been destroyed by that machinery. The whole system of capitalist production is based on the fact that the workers sell their labour-power as a commodity. Division of labour specialises this labour-power, by reducing it to skill in handling a particular tool. So soon as the handling of this tool becomes the work of a machine, then, with the use-value, the exchange-value too, of the workperson's labour-power vanishes; the worker becomes unsaleable, like paper money thrown out of currency by legal enactment. That portion of the working class, thus by machinery rendered superfluous, i.e., no longer immediately necessary for the self-expansion of capital, either goes to the wall in the unequal contest of the old handicrafts and manufactures with machinery, or else floods all the more easily accessible branches of industry, swamps the labour market, and sinks the price of labour-power below its value. It is impressed upon the work- people, as a great consolation, first, that their sufferings are only temporary ("a temporary inconvenience")…[but] since machinery is continually seizing upon new fields of production, its temporary effect is really permanent…
Marx, Capital, Volume I: “Machinery and Large-Scale Industry”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Follow up to Critical Theory and the New Right-Wing Populism

Andrew Wilson also, racism
Alastair Hemmens I agree with the general sentiment. But concrete labour is still abstract labour. You can't find new and better forms of work or decouple use value from value as this author suggests.
Russell Rockwell In a society that has overcome capitalism, there is neither concrete nor abstract labor.
Postone, quoting Marx in an early section of the Grundrisse, writes:
People must be able to step outside of the direct labor process in which they had previously l
abored as parts, and control it from above. The control…must be available not only to society as a whole, but to all of its members. A necessary material condition for the full development of all the individuals is that “labor in which a human being does what a thing could do has ceased.”
In a section of the Grundrisse, which discusses his notion of surplus labor time and surplus labor, Marx develops the context for the end of the kind of labor that could be done by a machine, which Postone argues is “the necessary material condition for the full development of all the individuals”. Marx discusses the historical developments of the specifically capitalist mode of production, which shape the immense potential of the social conditions arising from it. Of the several conditions Marx mentions, perhaps the most important is creation of “the material elements for the development of rich individuality which is all-sided in its production as in its consumption, and whose labor no longer appears as labor, but as the full development of activity itself...”

Critical Theory (Horkheimer to Postone) and the New Right-Wing Populism