marxism for the masses (herbert marcuse translates karl marx )

As large-scale industry advances, the creation of real wealth depends less on the labor time and the quantity of labor expended than on the power of the instrumentalities (Agentien) set in motion during the labor time. These instrumentalities, and their powerful effectiveness, are in no proportion to the immediate labor time which their production requires; their effectiveness rather depends on the attained level of science and technological progress; in other words, on the application of this science to the production.  …

 

Human labor then no longer appears as enclosed in the process of production—man rather relates himself to the process of production as supervisor and regulator (Wachter und Regulator). … He stands outside the process of production instead of being the principal agent in the process of production. … In this transformation, the great pillar of production and wealth is no longer the immediate labor performed by the man himself, nor his labor time, but the appropriation of his own universal productivity (Produktivkraft), i.e., his knowledge and his mastery of nature through his societal existence—in one word: the development of the societal individual (des gesellschaftlichen Individuums).

 

The theft of another man’s labor time, on which the social wealth still rests today, then appears as miserable basis compared with the new basis which large-scale industry itself has created. As soon as human labor, in its immediate form, has ceased to be the great source of wealth, labor time will cease, and must of necessity cease to be the measure of wealth, and the exchange value must of necessity cease to be the measure of use value.

 

The surplus labor of the mass of the population has thus ceased to be the condition for the development of social wealth (des allgemeinen Reichtums), and the idleness of the few has ceased to be the condition for the development of the universal intellectual faculties of man. The mode of production which rests on the exchange value thus collapses …

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(herbert marcuse one-dimensional society 1966)

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Sunday March 19 2017


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