RE: [OPE] Question to Marxologists: Mode of production

Date: Sat Aug 30 2008 - 18:49:01 EDT

Paul C:
I am aware of what you said. Indeed, I excerpted sections of
your post to make it clear what I was replying to.
The issue here has to do with the political economy of
technological change: in looking at the case of mechanized
cotton production, you emphasize that this was a productivity-
increasing technological change. Of course, that is true but it
does not negate what I thought to be a simple and uncontroversial
claim, i.e. that the design of particular technologies takes into 
account the form of labor and hence specific social relations of
production.  This is because technological change is typically
also a form of control of labor or - to be more precise - the
design of new technologies includes a control dimension. 
Mechanized cotton production technologies (your example) 
clearly had both strategic and control objectives.
In solidarity, Jerry
PS: please note also that my post highlighted more than simply
the presence or absence of keys in tractors. Surely you are 
aware that one of the most dangerous occupations in advanced
capitalist nations is agricultural labor. Did it not occur to you that
this is to a great degree a consequence of a particular design of 
farm technologies which are dangerous to agricultural workers?
The farm technologies which will be utilized by workers in a
socialist society will be designed by workers with their welfare in 
mind and not simply or only to increase the productivity of labor.

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