New Criticals

Reduced to an essential truth, late 18th and early 19th century capitalist production and labor division relied on the assembly of workers within the factory and the implementation of industrial machinery. Whether those workers were all doing the same thing horizontally (i.e. all producing carriage wheels) or different things vertically (i.e. various handicraftsmen specializing in various parts of carriage production in a factory making complete carriages), the (geographical and psychological) centralization of work was a critical component. Likewise, capitalism relied on co-operation, whether it functioned as workers laboring independently towards a unified finished product or as a group of laborers working in conjunction on a single, unified task. Marx is indifferent to the cause/effect analysis in this regard – either manufacture introduces and perpetuates the division of labor or undermines it by bringing disparate handicraftsmen together under one roof – because ultimately the “final form is always the same – a productive mechanism whose organs are human beings.” [9]