New Criticals

Marx reminds us that the skill of the worker remains the foundation of the production process despite any and all advances in technology or technique. That said, in terms of productiveness, a worker engaged in a repetitive, simple operation will eventually take less time to perform his task than a worker engaging in a variety of actions, thus making this worker more productive and more valuable, but less unique or skilled. Specialization becomes mechanization. Perfection is attainable by removing all but the most necessary motions, en route to a maximized conservation of costly labor power. The end result is cheap and easy labor, for both the worker and the capitalist. The best worker is the most automatic, perfected muscle memory.

Two resulting elements endure today: mechanization and co-operation. Co-operation persists in much the same form, though we may know it better as communication, and come to understand that a highly connective organizational structure and work environment is vital to sustain capitalism. The division of labor takes on its classical shape with the emergence of industrial manufacturing. The indivisibility of labor takes on its classical shape in an information economy, as the most visible and prominent portion of the world economy shifts away from manufacture into new modes of production.