Date: Mon Jan 06 2003 - 08:00:54 EST
> Because electronics enables the replacement of the command and control > function of the worker -- the activation, in the absence of the worker, > of the expropriated, externalized skills of the worker (represented by > software), we should think of electronics as a new quality in the > production process. Have you seen a spinning mule in action? The revolutionary quality of the mule was just that it replaced the command and control function of the spinner with an automated sequence of actions. All of this was done with gears and cams. Again look at Fords mechanically automated factories of the 30s described in Mechanisation Takes Command, S. Giedion, Oxford University Press, 1948. There is something qualitatively new in the production of electronics - related to the miniturisation of the components, but this is disctinct from the use of electronics in other branches of production. > > I say "new quality" in that the role of the human being in electronic > production is fundamentally different than the inversion that Marx > describes in Capital Vol I (where the worker flips from being the > operator of tools to becoming the appendage of the machine). The worker > in the case of electronics becomes completely superfluous to the > traditional production process. (Ramin Ramtin wrote about this in his > book of some 10+ years ago.) Lots of categories of workers have already been made superflous by machines - 100 cotton pickers were replaced by one tractor driver. What is happening with electronics is no different, some workers are displaced, but a smaller number of other trades come into existence to control and supervise the new electronic machines.
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