New Criticals

In order to keep pace, Marx identifies a point when large-scale industry had to resort to machines to make machines. For him and for us, interestingly enough, this development signals a noteworthy departure. The scale of construction becomes “Cyclopean,” operation automatic and growth exponential: “the mechanical lathe is only a Cyclopean reproduction of the ordinary foot-lathe…[a] gigantic razor…[just a] monster pair of scissors…[and a] steam-hammer [that] works like an ordinary hammer head, but of such a weight that even Thor himself could not wield it,” but also delicate, nimble, and “no less capable of driving a nail into a piece of soft wood with a succession of light taps.” [3] No small feat for Thor, but only a click away for the discerning consumer. Co-operation assumes a similar importance for machinery as it does for labor in general and for each individual worker; both a technical necessity and natural precondition for its successful existence.