Machines in 1861-63.

Noice passage on machines, surplus population etc.:

“The entire apologetic bourgeois presentation of machinery does not deny,

1) that machinery — sometimes here, sometimes there, but continually —MAKES A PART OF THE POPULATION REDUNDANT, throws a section of the labouring population on the street. It creates a SURPLUS POPULATION, thus leading to lower wages in certain spheres of production, here or there, not because the population grows more rapidly than the means of subsistence, but because the rapid growth in the means of subsistence, due to machinery, enables more machinery to be introduced and therefore reduces the immediate demand for labour. This comes about not because the social FUND diminishes, but because of the growth of this fund, the part of it WHICH IS SPENT IN WAGES falls relatively.

2) Even less does this apologetics deny the subjugation of the workers who operate the machines and the misére of the manual workers or craftsmen who are displaced by machinery and perish.

What it [asserts] — and PARTLY correctly — is [firstly] that as a result of machinery (of the development of the productive powers of labour in general) the NET REVENUE (PROFIT and RENT) grows to such an extent, that the bourgeois needs more MENIAL SERVANTS than before; whereas previously he had to lay out more of his product in PRODUCTIVE LABOUR, he can now lay out more in UNPRODUCTIVE LABOUR, [so that] servants and other workers living on the unproductive class increase in number. This progressive transformation of a section of the workers into servants is a fine prospect. For them it is equally consoling that because of the growth in the NET PRODUCE, more spheres are opened up for UNPRODUCTIVE LABOUR, who live on their product and whose interest in their exploitation coincides plus ou moins with that of the directly exploiting classes.

Secondly, that because of the spur given to accumulation, on the new basis requiring less living labour in proportion to past labour, the workers who were dismissed and pauperised, or at least that part of the population increase [XIII-745] which replaces them, are either absorbed in the expanding engineering-works themselves, or in supplementary TRADES which machinery has made necessary and brought into being, or IN NEW FIELDS OF EMPLOYMENT OPENED BY THE NEW CAPITAL, AND SATISFYING NEW WANTS. This then is another wonderful prospect: the LABOURING CLASS has to bear all the “TEMPORARY INCONVENIENCES” — THROWING OUT OF LABOUR, DISPLACEMENT OF LABOUR AND CAPITAL — but wage labour is nevertheless not to be abolished, on the contrary it will be reproduced on an ever growing scale, growing absolutely, even though decreasing relatively to the growing total capital which employs it.

Thirdly: that consumption becomes more refined due to machinery. The reduced price of the immediate necessities of life allows the scope of luxury production to be extended. Thus the 3rd fine prospect opens before the workers: in order TO WIN THEIR NECESSARIES, THE SAME AMOUNT OF THEM, THE SAME NUMBER OF LABOURERS WILL ENABLE THE HIGHER CLASSES TO EXTEND, REFINE, AND diversify THE CIRCLE OF THEIR ENJOYMENTS, AND THUS TO WIDEN THE ECONOMICAL, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL GULF SEPARATING THEM FROM THEIR BETTERS. FINE PROSPECTS, THESE, AND VERY DESIRABLE RESULTS, FOR THE LABOURER, OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PRODUCTIVE POWERS OF HIS LABOUR.” mecw 32 196-7

About HR

Deep in the adjunct crackhole.
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