‘But not many people get to the point hundreds of pages later, where he says that division of labor will destroy human beings and turn people into creatures as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human being to be.’
“In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations, frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his understanding or to exercise his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficulties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of such exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life. Of the great and extensive interests of his country he is altogether incapable of judging, and unless very particular pains have been taken to render him otherwise, he is equally incapable of defending his country in war. The uniformity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind, and makes him regard with abhorrence the irregular, uncertain, and adventurous life of a soldier. It corrupts even the activity of his body, and renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employment than that to which he has been bred. His dexterity at his own particular trade seems, in this manner, to be acquired at the expence of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues. But in every improved and civilized society this is the state into which the labouring poor, that is, the great body of the people, must necessarily fall, unless government takes some pains to prevent it.”
Yeah the idea is the Marxist--essentially, the wage laborer doesn't really "own" his own labor, because the "surplus" of his labor goes to the capitalist.
quote:Dull, repetitive labor is a facet of ANY kind of society, capitalist, marxist or any else. If people want products, someone is going to have to make them and it usually won't be through enriching, satisfying work.
tl;dr version basically says that doing repetitive and menial tasks dulls the mind to the point of being merely a beast of burden.
quote:In a nutshell. Best post I've read in a while.
The problem with Marx's view is that he thinks of labor as the product when it's actually only the means of creating the product. Because of this the capitalist owns the labor, not the laborer.
The laborer is paid for their time in performing the labor but the labor exists to be done whether the laborer is there or not to do it. If the capitalist does not exist, neither does the labor. If the laborer does not exist, the labor still does but it just isn't being completed.
Labor is really subjectivity--human agency, creative power, productive power, etc.
quote:Chomsky is one of the stupidest smart people to ever walk the planet. AND, he's a flaming hypocrite.
I heard Noam Chomsky say this, or something along those lines, but he didn't expound upon it, at least not in that Speech. In the same speech, he also said that Libertarians are for tyranny, and that "corporate tyranny" is worst than any kind of government tyranny.
Chomsky is one of the stupidest smart people to ever walk the planet. AND, he's a flaming hypocrite.
Marx failed to understand that while there is a struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, it's nothing compared to the symbiotic relationship between the two (in fact, he doesn't recognize that the relationship exists at all, if memory serves). The Bourgeoisie (the Capitalist - business owner) survives off the efforts of the Proletariat (Labor), but the resource of the Proletariat is so plentiful that the Proletariat is the lesser in the relationship. In other words, there will always be a Proletariat for the Bourgeoisie, but if the Bourgeoisie goes away, so too does the possibility of a better life for the Proletariat.