Eric Wolfe

20 February 2001

SOC- 2010

Oral Essay #1

#13 Technology and Capitalist Control

Harry Braverman

The evolvement of technology from in the past to today has changed drastically. There are things that people used to do for jobs that they can not do because of the evolution of machinery. These machines do exactly the same thing as what the worker would do but in only half the time. These evolutions of technology are not just with machinery; it has also evolved in other areas such as electrical, chemical, and other physical forces. These tools of machinery that society uses has only happened because of the growth of scientific principles. People learn a lot about these tools and try to find ways to improve them. The study and understanding of these tools increases control by humans over labor processes by means of machines and machine systems.

Humanity is subjected to the labor process for those who have control over it instead of any general purposes of humanity as such. If you control humans over the labor process, it will pull a 360-degree turn on people and the labor process tends to control humans. Machinery comes into this world sort of like a mystery. Most people just experiment and see what works. Humanity uses the new machinery not as a belonging just to get by, but as an instrument to those who use it. In addition to machines technical function of increasing the productivity of labor, machinery also has in the capitalist system the function of divesting the mass of workers of their control over their own labor.

The evolvement of machinery represents an expansion of human capacities; human control increases over the environment through the ability of production of increasing range and exactitude of response. But the technical development that the control over the machine need no longer be on its operator. This possibility is seized upon by the capitalist mode of production and utilized to the fullest extent. Both of these interests must be antagonistic. The people in charge need to come together and put both of these interests together. These people of higher standard need to come up with a way to bring the special needs of those who own the machine and the labor power, and also the ones who bring the machine and the labor power together. One way to try and do this is a step by step creation of a “labor force” in place of self-directed human labor. The working people conform to the social needs of the social organization of labor.

Many machines may be paced and controlled, and these controls need to be run by people in management, and not those in the workplace.

Word Count: 453

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