Machinery and Modern Industry


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




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.

Mathematicians and mechanicians, and in this they are followed by a few English economists, call a tool a simple machine, and a machine a complex tool. They see no essential difference between them, and even give the name of machine to the simple mechanical powers, the lever, the inclined plane, the screw, the wedge, &c.2 As a matter of fact, every machine is a combination of those simple powers, no matter how they may be disguised. From the economic standpoint this explanation is worth nothing, because the historical element is wanting. Another explanation of the difference between tool and machine is that in the case of a tool, man is the motive power, while the motive power of a machine is something different from man, as, for instance, an animal, water, wind, and so on.3 According to this, a plough drawn by oxen, which is a contrivance common to the most different epochs, would be a machine, while Claussen's circular loom, which, worked by a single labourer, weaves 96,000 picks per minute, would be a mere tool. Nay, this very loom, though a tool when worked by hand, would, if worked by steam, be a machine. And since the application of animal power is one of man's earliest inventions, production by machinery would have preceded production by handicrafts. When in 1735, John Wyatt brought out his spinning machine, and began the industrial revolution of the 18th century, not a word did he say about an ass driving it instead of a man, and yet this part fell to the ass. He described it as a machine "to spin without fingers."4

  By PanEris using Melati.

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