Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part VII

Kant on the “dividing practices”:

“All trades, arts, and handiworks have gained by division of labor, namely, when, instead of one man doing everything, each confines himself to a certain kind of work distinct from others in the treatment it requires, so as to be able to perform it with greater facility and in the greatest perfection. Where the different kinds of work are not distinguished and divided, where everyone is a jack-of-all-trades, there manufactures remain still in the greatest barbarism.”

Marx on the “dividing practices”:

“Division of labor within the workshop implies the undisputed authority of the capitalist over men who are but parts of a mechanism that belongs to him. The division of labor within the society brings into contact independent commodity producers, who acknowledge no other authority but that of competition, of the coercion exerted by the pressure of their mutual interests; just as in the animal kingdom, the bellum omnium contra omnes more or less preserves the conditions of existence of every species. The same bourgeois mind which praises division of labor in the workshop, lifelong annexation of the laborer to a partial operation, and his complete subjection to capital, as being an organization of labor that increases its productiveness—that same bourgeois mind denounces with equal vigor every conscious attempt socially to control and regulate the process of production as an inroad upon such sacred things as the rights of property, freedom, and unrestricted play for the bent of the individual capitalist. It is very characteristic that the enthusiastic apologists of the factory system have nothing more damning to urge against a general organization of the labor of society than that it would turn all society into one immense factory.”


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