Friday, July 17, 2009

The engraved worker

machines are macabre things; One the one hand Max is very clear all machine reanimate dead labour. The power of nature then sweeps up old ideas and work done in building the machine and makes it live again. The dead worker, the social man who constructed the machine or all the humans who made it (by palling, by designing the tools etc) life again in the machines force. electricity re-animates labour.
On the other hand a machine is a natural vortex. It is the point at which nature breaks into society. That is the point where the forces of nature are in their boundless power transfigured into society and made to resonate across the social. The world activities of tool and handicraft are then swept up into the machine, and becomes caught up in animating natural forces.
likewise the demands goes out or at least the possibility that humans respond: that is hat humans loose any humanity and become as natural force in the system.What they are to the machine, they need to be 24-7 ( A very Marxist idea). A machine knows and cares not for tim, and it would if it could demand that workers care not for it to.
Here of course the second thread of capitalist machine kicks in. The capitalists machine is a machine for creating value and money for the capitalist . Machines might then in themselves distill natural force, but they do in the name of making money. Every force is the priced in capitalism. O better it s open to a price. But here there is a tension for the price of using nature is a price that is very different to the price for using workers. Workers must be kept alive (and cannot therefore be worked to death, or at least not before they have reproduced and trained their replacements). The same cannot be said for machines.A machine needs to be worked as hard as possible and as intensively as possible so that it repays as soon as possible the huge cost of building it.
That is the costs of the conjuring up of forces of nature by the capitalist, ensures that he must use those forces to the maximum of their power as soon as possible. The logic is therefore that he treats or tries to treat as much as possible his workers as if they too were a natural force. Or better as is how they did in the machines were a force that can as forces of nature be called upon on tap. On turns of the workers and they do whatever they do right away, and for as long as possible. Work is then turned into an unskilled task, and everyone must do. Everyone is caught up in its resonance and bound to it. Everyone is a part of the machine.
The trimuph of capitalism then lies in the fact that nature is transfigured into society via the machine(the window on the natural). Going the opposite way society is transfigured into something akin to a natural law. The law o profit which gathers all endeavours up an articulates them one onto the other, so that they form one great wave, which then rips across the wold, is the order of the day to the capitalism. Everything needs to go some where else (value profit); everything needs to expand and change. Soceity is bound by the iron rules of this change beyond everyone moment or element or person in it. it is the iron law as of growth.
The worker is then the individual caught n the middle of these transfiguration: They are the element upon which the weight of the transfiguration fill. They transfigure the natural order by becoming themselves as if they were in the grip of a force of nature, with all the profound discomfort and horror that brings. While at the same time they embody the unit which the capitalist drives forward in their schemes, the until they reckon on and count on in their alchemy that is the unit which can itself be change (make to worker harder, longer more intensively etc) so that profits follow.
The worker is then both the point at which natural forces tumble into the world, but also the world of work itself becomes akin to natural force. That is the point society is carried over into a certain set of iron rules, and the point at which force from beyond becomes a part in society. it is the double fact, the world of nature and the world of man that grows untrammeled that gives Marx hope. if only the worker can step back, and took a their position, if only the can understand their role in the system, and see this double alchemy (and not merely be swept along in the profit of it all), then they have great power.
Maybe he wonders perpetually they have the power to echo human society into other laws f growth (thoughts), and so free it form money. Maybe they have the power to make those open natural forces work for humanity in other ways, that this profit.
Well maybe.. The problem of course is that captialism would alwways rather not know

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