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[44] "The man of knowledge and the productive labourer come to be widely divided from each other, and knowledge, instead of remaining the handmaid of labour in the hand of the labourer to increase his productive powers... has almost everywhere arrayed itself against labour... systematically deluding and leading them (the labourers) astray in order to render their muscular powers entirely mechanical and obedient." (W. Thompson: "An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth." London, 1824, p. 274.) [45] A. Ferguson, l. c., p. 280.

[46] J. D. Tuckett: "A History of the Past and Present State of the Labouring Population."

Lond., 1846.

[47] A. Smith: "Wealth of Nations," Bk. v., ch. i, art. ii. Being a pupil of A. Ferguson who showed the disadvantageous effects of division of labour, Adam Smith was perfectly clear on this point. In the introduction to his work, where he ex professo praises division of labour, he indicates only in a cursory manner that it is the source of social inequalities.

It is not till the 5th Book, on the Revenue of the State, that he reproduces Ferguson. In my "Misère de la Philosophie," I have sufficiently explained the historical connexion between Ferguson, A. Smith, Lemontey, and Say, as regards their criticisms of Division of Labour, and have shown, for the first time, that Division of Labour as practised in manufactures, is a specific form of the capitalist mode of production.

[48] Ferguson had already said, l. c., p. 281: "And thinking itself, in this age of separations, may become a peculiar craft."

[49] G. Garnier, vol. V. of his translation of A. Smith, pp. 4-5.

[50] Ramazzini, professor of practical medicine at Padua, published in 1713 his work "De morbis artificum," which was translated into French 1781, reprinted 1841 in the "Encyclopédie des Sciences Médicales. 7me Dis. Auteurs Classiques." The period of Modern Mechanical Industry has, of course, very much enlarged his catalogue of labour's diseases. See "Hygiène physique et morale de l'ouvrier dans les grandes villes en général et dans la ville de Lyon en particulier. Par le Dr. A. L. Fonteret, Paris, 1858," and "Die Krankheiten, welche verschiednen Ständen, Altern und Geschlechtern eigenthümlich sind. 6 Vols. Ulm, 1860," and others. In 1854 the Society of Arts appointed a Commission of Inquiry into industrial pathology. The list of documents collected by this commission is to be seen in the catalogue of the "Twickenham Economic Museum." Very important are the official "Reports on Public Health." See also Eduard Reich, M. D.

"Ueber die Entartung des Menschen," Erlangen, 1868.

[51] (D. Urquhart: "Familiar Words." Lond., 1855, p. 119.) Hegel held very heretical views on division of labour. In his "Rechtsphilosophie" he says: "By well educated men we understand in the first instance, those who can do everything that others do."

[52] The simple belief in the inventive genius exercised a priori by the individual capitalist in division of labour, exists now-a-days only among German professors, of the stamp of Herr Roscher, who, to recompense the capitalist from whose Jovian head division of labour sprang ready formed, dedicates to him "various wages" (diverse Arbeitslöhne). The more or less extensive application of division of labour depends on length of purse, not on greatness of genius.

[53] The older writers, like Petty and the anonymous author of "Advantages of the East India Trade," bring out the capitalist character of division of labour as applied in manufacture more than A. Smith does.

[54] Amongst the moderns may be excepted a few writers of the 18th century, like Beccaria and James Harris, who with regard to division of labour almost entirely follow the ancients. Thus, Beccaria: "Ciascuno prova coll'esperienza, che applicando la mano e l'ingegno sempre allo stesso genere di opere e di produtte, egli più facili, più abbondanti e migliori ne traca risultati, di quello che se ciascuno isolatamente le cose tutte a se necessarie soltanto facesse.... Dividendosi in tal maniera per la comune e privata utilità gli uomini in varie classi e condizioni." (Cesare Beccaria: "Elementi di Econ: Pubblica," ed. Custodi, Parte Moderna, t. xi, p. 29.) James Harris, afterwards Earl of Malmesbury, celebrated for the "Diaries" of his embassy at St. Petersburg, says in a note to his "Dialogue Concerning Happiness," Lond., 1741, reprinted afterwards in "Three Treatises, 3 Ed., Lond., 1772: "The whole argument to prove society natural (i.e., by division of employments)... is taken from the second book of Plato's Republic."

[55] Thus, in the Odyssey xiv., 228, [Greek: "Allos gar t'alloisin aner epiterpetai ergois"] and Archilochus in Sextus Empiricus, [greek: "allos allo ep' ergo kardien iainetai".] [56] [Greek: "Poll' epistaio ergo, kakos d'epistano panta."] Every Athenian considered himself superior as a producer of commodities to a Spartan; for the latter in time of war had men enough at his disposal but could not command money, as Thucydides makes

Pericles say in the speech inciting the Athenians to the Peloponnesian war: [Greek:

"somasite etoimoteroi oi autourgoi ton anthropon e kremasi polemein"] (Thuc.: 1, I. c.

41.) Nevertheless, even with regard to material production, [Greek: autarkeia], as opposed to division of labour remained their ideal, [Greek: "par' on gar to, eu, para touton kai to autarkes."] It should be mentioned here that at the date of the fall of the 30 Tyrants there were still not 5,000 Athenians without landed property.

[57] With Plato, division of labour within the community is a development from the multifarious requirements, and the limited capacities of individuals. The main point with him is, that the labourer must adapt himself to the work, not the work to the labourer;

which latter is unavoidable, if he carries on several trades at once, thus making one or the other of them subordinate. [Greek: "Ou gar ethelei to prattomenon ten tou prattonios scholen perimenein, all' anagke ton prattonta to prattomeno epakoloothein me en parergou merei. Anagke. Ek de touton pleio te ekasta gignetai kai kallion kai raon, otan eis en kaia physin kai en kairo scholen ton allon agon, pratte."] (Rep. 1. 2. Ed. Baiter, Orelli, &c.) So in Thucydides, l. c., c. 142: "Seafaring is an art like any other, and cannot, as circumstances require, be carried on as a subsidiary occupation; nay, other subsidiary occupations cannot be carried on alongside of this one." If the work, says Plato, has to wait for the labourer, the critical point in the process is missed and the article spoiled, [Greek: "ergou kairon diollytai."] The same Platonic idea is found recurring in the protest of the English bleachers against the clause in the Factory Act that provides fixed mealtimes for all operatives. Their business cannot wait the convenience of the workmen, for "in the various operations of singeing, washing, bleaching, mangling, calendering, and dyeing, none of them can be stopped at a given moment without risk of damage... to enforce the same dinner hour for all the workpeople might occasionally subject valuable goods to the risk of danger by incomplete operations." Le platonisme où va-t-il se nicher!

[58] Xenophon says, it is not only an honour to receive food from the table of the King of Persia, but such food is much more tasty than other food. "And there is nothing wonderful in this, for as the other arts are brought to special perfection in the great towns, so the royal food is prepared in a special way. For in the small towns the same man makes bedsteads, doors, ploughs, and tables: often, too, he builds houses into the bargain, and is quite content if he finds custom sufficient for his sustenance. It is altogether impossible for a man who does so many things to do them all well. But in the great towns, where each can find many buyers, one trade is sufficient to maintain the man who carries it on. Nay, there is often not even need of one complete trade, but one man makes shoes for men, another for women. Here and there one man gets a living by sewing, another by cutting out shoes; one does nothing but cut out clothes, another nothing but sew the pieces together. It follows necessarily then, that he who does the simplest kind of work, undoubtedly does it better than anyone else. So it is with the art of cooking." (Xen.

Cyrop. I. viii., c. 2.) Xenophon here lays stress exclusively upon the excellence to be attained in use-value, although he well knows that the gradations of the division of labour depend on the extent of the market.

[59] He (Busiris) divided them all into special castes... commanded that the same individuals should always carry on the same trade, for he knew that they who change their occupations become skilled in none; but that those who constantly stick to one occupation bring it to the highest perfection. In truth, we shall also find that in relation to the arts and handicrafts, they have outstripped their rivals more than a master does a bungler; and the contrivances for maintaining the monarchy and the other institutions of their State are so admirable that the most celebrated philosophers who treat of this subject praise the constitution of the Egyptian State above all others. (Isocrates, Busiris, c. 8.) [60] Cf. Diodorus Siculus.

[61] Ure, l. c., p. 20.

[62] This is more the case in England than in France, and more in France than in Holland.

Transcribed by Hinrich Kuhls Html Markup by Stephen Baird (1999) Next: Chapter Fifteen: Machinery and Modern Industry Capital Volume One- Index Karl Marx Capital Volume One

Part IV:

Production of Relative Surplus-Value



Contents Section 1 - The Development of Machinery Section 2 - The Value Transferred by Machinery to the Product Section 3 - The Proximate Effects of Machinery on the Workman A. Appropriation of Supplementary Labour-Power by Capital.The Employment of Women and Children B. Prolongation of the Working-Day C. Intensification of Labour Section 4 - The Factory Section 5 - The Strife Between Workman and Machine Section 6 - The Theory of Compensation as Regards the Workpeople Displaced by Machinery Section 7 - Repulsion and Attraction of Workpeople by the Factory System. Crises in the Cotton Trade Section 8 - Revolution Effected in Manufacture, Handicrafts, and Domestic Industry by Modern Industry A. Overthrow of Co-operation Based on Handicraft and on the Division of Labour B. Reaction of the Factory System on Manufacture and Domestic Industries C. Modern Manufacture D. Modern Domestic Industry E. Passage of Modern Manufacture, and Domestic Industry into Modern Mechanical Industry. The Hastening of this Revolution by the Application of the Factory Acts to those Industries Section 9 - The Factory Acts. Sanitary and Educational Clauses of the same. Their General Extension in England Section 10 - Modern Industry and Agriculture SECTION 1


John Stuart Mill says in his "Principles of Political Economy": "It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being." [1] That is, however, by no means the aim of the capitalistic application of machinery. Like every other increase in the productiveness of labour, machinery is intended to cheapen commodities, and, by shortening that portion of the working-day, in which the labourer works for himself, to lengthen the other portion that he gives, without an equivalent, to the capitalist. In short, it is a means for producing surplus-value.

In manufacture, the revolution in the mode of production begins with the labour-power, in modern industry it begins with the instruments of labour. Our first inquiry then is, how the instruments of labour are converted from tools into machines, or what is the difference between a machine and the implements of a handicraft? We are only concerned here with striking and general characteristics; for epochs in the history of society are no more separated from each other by hard and fast lines of demarcation, than are geological epochs.

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