MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE


Fuller's account of mechanical extensions in Epic Poem betrays, at times, a Panglossian naivety. His description of industrialization as developing,

"by virtue of mechanical extensions of a compound nature developed for many people instead of for one to serve, and be simultaneously served by" and of the "common needs", "implicit" to all these extensions, whose satisfaction "obviously involves co-operative effort - faithful ordering",

is in sharp contrast to the opening paragraph of Marx's chapter on "Machinery and Large Scale Industry" (1867, p.492):

"J. S. Mill says in his 'Principles of Political Economy':
'It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being.' (Mill should have said, 'of any human being not fed by other people's labour', for there is no doubt that machinery has greatly increased the number of distinguished idlers.)

"That is, however, by no means the aim of the application of machinery under capitalism. Like every other instrument for increasing the productivity of labour, machinery is intended to cheapen commodities and, by shortening the part of the working day in which the worker works for himself, to lengthen the other part, the part he gives to the capitalist for nothing. The machine is a means for producing surplus value."


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THE FULLER MAP



Paul Taylor 2001