glevy at glevy at
Tue Aug 29 14:38:11 MDT 1995

Paul C. wrote:

> What distinguishes automation from what Marx, using the then current
> engineering terminology 'self-acting' machinery: only the dignity
> of classical rather than germanic etymology.
> Automation has been a constant of capitalist development, and
> the Marxian analysis is built around this from Capital onwards.
Are you saying that automation is simply a variation on "machinery and
modern industry"? It is important to remember, when considering capitalist
development, that in Marx's time and to a lesser degree today, older
methods of producing relative surplus value such as simply increasing the
division of labour and manufacture, are still used to a greater degree in
many branches of production in specific areas, regions and nations of the
world capitalist economy. Also, automation (especially *flexible
automation*) has some technical characteristics that machinery did not
have in Marx's time.


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