The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx

10. Machinery and Modern Industry

(1) The Development of Machinery.

Although the division of labour in manufacture leads to a modification of handicraft labour, it does not abolish the latter. Dexterity in handicraft remains on the whole the foundation of manufacture, and enables the detail worker, in spite of his one-sided experience, to maintain a certain independence towards the capitalist. He cannot be replaced overnight, while his services are essential for the continuance of the whole business, as we have seen in the case of pin-making. And the workers are so well aware of this advantage that they all strive to retain this handicraft character in manufacture by maintaining as far as possible handicraft practices, such as the apprenticeship system.

These efforts may be observed even to-day in a whole series of industries which are still conducted upon manufacturing lines. In this consists the secret of many successes of the trade union movement.

One man’s meat is another’s poison. “Throughout the whole manufacturing period them runs the complaint of want of discipline among the workmen. And had we not the testimony of contemporary writers, the simple facts, that during the period between the sixteenth century and the epoch of Modern Industry, capital failed to become the master of the whole disposable working-time of the manufacturing labourers that manufactures are short-lived, and change their locality from one country to another with the emigrating or immigrating workmen, these facts would speak volumes.” One can therefore understand the lament uttered by the anonymous author of a pamphlet which was published in the year 1770. “The labouring people should never think themselves independent of their superiors. Order must in one way or another be established.”

And order was established. Its preliminary condition was created by manufacture itself. It called into life the hierarchically organised workshop for the production of complicated instruments of labour, and “the product of the division of labour in manufacture produced in its turn – machines.” The machine, however, gives the knockout blow to the dominance of handicraft activity.

What is the difference between the machine and the instrument of handicraft? How is the instrument of labour transformed from a tool into a machine? The machine is “a mechanism that, after being set in motion, performs with its tools the same operations that were formerly done by the workman with similar tools.” Whether the motive power is derived from man, or from some other machine, makes no difference in this respect. This should be clearly understood in view of the erroneous conception that the machine is distinguished from the tool by the fact that it is set in motion by a natural force other than that of man, such as animals, water, wind, etc. The employment of such motive forces is much, much older than machine production, we need only recall the drawing of the plough by oxen or horses. Animal, wind, and water power, etc., have been employed by men as motive forces from very early times, as in turning the crank of a mill and in pumping, without thereby effecting a revolution in the mode of production; even the steam engine, as invented at the end of the seventeenth century, produced no industrial revolution. This was, however, the case when the first important tool machine, the “spinning machine,” was invented. Nothing is more absurd than the fables about the discovery of steam power through the chance observation of a steaming kettle. The mechanical power of steam was probably known to the Greeks two thousand years ago, but they did not know what to do with it, and later it was utilised for all kinds of mechanical toys. But the invention of the steam engine was the product of a real, deliberate, intellectual endeavour, based upon previous attempts, and was not possible until manufacture had furnished the technical conditions, especially in the form of an adequate number of skilled mechanical workmen, for making it. Moreover, it was not possible until needs had aroused an interest in new motor forces. This was, however, the case when the labour machine was invented.

For its utilisation it required a stronger and more systematically-functioning driving force than any that had hitherto existed. Man is a very inadequate tool for uninterrupted and uniform movement, and, moreover, is too weak; the stronger horse is not only very expensive and only employable in the factory to a limited extent, but he also possesses the objectionable quality of sometimes taking his own head; the wind is too inconsistent and uncontrollable, and even water-power, which was used to a considerable extent during the manufacturing period, no longer sufficed, as it could not be increased at pleasure, and at certain seasons repeatedly dried up. Above all, it was confined to a locality. Only when James Watt, after many attempts, had invented his second so-called double-acting steam engine, after he had found, in the “extremely extensive” industrial establishment of his companion Matthew Boulton, “both the technical forces and the monetary resources which he needed for the execution of his plans, only then was the motor discovered “that begot its own force by the consumption of coal and water, whose power was entirely under man’s control, that was mobile and a means of locomotion, that was urban and not, like the waterwheel, rural, that permitted production to be concentrated in towns instead of, like the water-wheels, being scattered up and down the country, that was of universal technical application” (Marx).

And now the perfected motor force reacts in its turn upon the ever extending development of the labour machine.

“All fully developed machinery consists of three essentially different parts, the motor mechanism, the transmitting mechanism, and finally the tool or working machine.” The motor mechanism or driving force of the whole mechanism we have just considered. The transmitting mechanism, composed of fly-wheels, shafting, toothed wheels, gullies, straps, ropes, bands, pinions, and gearing of the most varied kinds, regulates the motion, changes its form where necessary, as, for instance, from linear to circular, and divides and distributes it among the working machines. “These first two parts of the whole mechanism are there solely for putting the working machines in motion, by means of which motion the subject of labour is seized upon and modified as desired.” As already observed, the tool or working-machine is that part of the machinery with which the industrial revolution of the eighteenth century started. And to this day it constantly serves as such a starting point, whenever a handicraft, or a manufacture, is turned into an industry carried on by machinery. Either the entire machine is only a more or less altered mechanical edition of the old handicraft tool, as, for instance, the power-loom; or the working parts fitted in the frame of the machine are old acquaintances, as spindles in a mule, needles in a stocking-loom, and knives in a chopping-machine. But the number of tools, which the same tool machine can set in motion simultaneously, is “from a very first emancipated from the organic limits that hedge in the tools of a handicraftsman.”

As a motor mechanism, by means of a suitable arrangement of the transmitting mechanism, can set a whole series of working machines simultaneously in motion, the individual machine sinks into a mere factor in production by machinery. Where the product is entirely made by a single working machine, as in the case of the mechanical power-loom, in the workshop where machinery alone is used, that is, in the factory, we meet again with simple co-operation, inasmuch as, leaving the workmen out of account for the moment, there is a conglomeration in one place of similar and simultaneously acting machines. But there is here a technical oneness in the whole system, as all the machines simultaneously receive an equal impulse from the common motor mechanism. They are only organs of the motive mechanism.

A real machinery system, however, does not take the place of these independent machines, until the subject of labour goes through a connected series of detail processes, that are carried out by a chain of machines of various kinds, the one supplementing the other. Here we have again the co-operation by division of labour that characterises manufacture; only now, it is a combination of detail machines. Each detail machine supplies raw material to the machine next in order; and just as in manufacture, the direct co-operation of the detail labourers establishes a numerical proportion between the special groups, so in an organised system of machinery, where one detail machine is constantly kept employed by another, a fixed relation is established between their numbers, their size, and their speed. This combined working machinery becomes more and more perfect, the more the process as a whole becomes a continuous one, i.e., the less the raw material is interrupted in its passage from its first phase to its last and the more its passage from one stage of production to another is effected, not by human hands, but by the machinery itself. As soon as a machine executes, without man’s help, all the movements requisite to elaborate the raw material, needing only attendance from him, we have an automatic system of machinery. That such a machine is susceptible to a constant improvement in detail is shown by the apparatus that stops the spinning machine whenever a sliver breaks. As an example, “both of continuity of production and of the carrying out of the automatic principle,” says Marx, “ we may take a modern paper mill.”

Like the steam engine invented by Watt, the other early inventions in the province of machinery were only practicable because the manufacturing period had furnished a considerable number of skilled mechanical workmen, detail workmen in manufactures, independent handicraftsmen of various trades, who were able to construct machines. The first machines were created by handicraftsmen or in manufactures.

But so long as machines owed their existence to the personal skill and the personal strength of workers, who were still half artists, they were not only very dear – a circumstance that is ever present to the capitalist; the extension of their employment, and therefore the development of modern industry, were dependent on the growth of the class of machine constructors, whose trade required a long time to learn, and whose numbers could not be increased by leaps and bounds.

As soon as modern industry has reached a certain stage of development it becomes incompatible in a technical respect with its handicraft and manufacturing foundation. The progressive extension of the scope of machines, their emancipation from the handicraft model which originally prevailed, the employment of more suitable or more refractory material, iron instead of wood for example, encountered the greatest difficulties, which could not be overcome even by the system of division of labour enforced in manufacture. “Such machines as the modern hydraulic press, the modern power-loom, and the modern carding engine, could never have been furnished by manufacture.”

On the other hand, a transformation in one branch of industry involves a transformation in a series of connected branches of industry. Machine spinning makes machine weaving necessary, and the two together involve a mechanical-chemical revolution in bleaching, printing, and dyeing. Again, the revolution in the mode of production in industry and agriculture necessitates a transformation in the means of transport and communications. Modern industry with its feverish rapidity of production must be able to obtain its raw materials quickly, and to throw its products quickly and in great quantities on the market, it must be in the position to attract and to repel great masses of labour according to its requirements and so on.

This brings about a revolution in ship building, and the sailing vessel is supplanted by the steam ship, the coaching system by the railways, and express messengers by the telegraph. “But the huge masses of iron that had now to be welded, to be cut, to be bored, and to be shaped, demanded, on their part, cyclopean machines, for the construction of which the methods of the manufacturing period were utterly inadequate.”

Thus modern industry had to create its own foundation, adapted to its nature, and it did so by mastering the machine, in order to produce machines therewith. “It was only through the tool machines that technology was able to solve the gigantic problem presented by machinery construction” (Book of Inventions). For this purpose it was necessary to produce the geometrically accurate straight lines, planes, circles, cylinders, cones, and spheres, required in the detail parts of the machines. This problem Henry Maudsley solved in the first decade of this century by the invention of the slide rest, a tool that was soon made automatic, and in a modified form was applied to other constructive machines besides the lathe, for which it was originally intended. Thanks to this invention, it became possible to produce the forms of the individual parts of machinery “with a degree of ease, accuracy, and speed, that no accumulated experience of the hand of the most skilled workman could give.” [1]

It is nut necessary to dilate upon the great dimensions of the machinery employed in the construction of machines. Who has not heard of the gigantic works of our machine factories, of those powerful steam hammers, weighing more than two tons, for which the crushing of a block of granite is mere child’s play, but which are also capable of executing the lightest movements, measured to a nicety? And every day brings fresh news of the progress of the machine system, of further extensions of its influence.

In manufacture the division of labour was largely of a subjective character, and the detail process was adapted to the personality of the workman. In the machine system, modern industry possesses an organism of production which is entirely objective, which confronts the worker in a finished state, and to which the latter must therefore subject himself. Co-operation, the supplanting of the isolated worker by the socialised worker, is no longer accidental, but is “ a technical necessity dictated by the instrument of labour itself.”

(2) The Value Transferred by Machinery to the Product

Like the simple tool, the machine is a part of constant capital. It creates no value, but only transfers its own value to the product, in the particular ease, the value of the fraction used up in the process. While machinery enters as a whole into the labour process, it only enters by bits into the value-begetting process. The same thing happens in the case of the tool, but the difference between the original total value and the fractional value imparted to the product is far greater with the machine than with the tool. In the first place, it has a much longer life than the tool, as it is constructed of more durable material, and, secondly, in consequence of its control by strict scientific laws, it effects greater economies in the using up of its constituent parts, and in the consumption of auxiliary materials, oil, coal and so on, and finally its productive scope is incomparably greater than that of the tool.

Given the difference between the value of the machinery, and the value transferred by it in a day to the product, the extent to which this latter value makes the product dearer depends, in the first instance, upon the size of the product. In a lecture published in 1858, Mr. Baynes, of Blackburn, estimated that “each real mechanical horsepower [2] will drive 450 self-acting mule spindles with preparation, or 200 throstle spindles, or 15 looms for 40-inch cloth and so on.” In the first case, it is the day’s produce of 450 mule spindles, in the second, of 200 throstle spindles, in the third, of 15 power-looms, over which the daily cost of one horse-power and the wear and tear of the machinery set in motion by that power are spread, so that only a very minute value is transferred to a pound of yarn or a yard of cloth.

Given a machine’s capacity for work, that is, the number of its operating tools, or, where it is a question of force, their mass, the amount of its product will depend on the velocity of its working parts.

Given the rate at which machinery transfers its value to the product, the amount of value so transferred depends on the total value of the machinery. The less labour it contains, the less value it imparts to the product. If its production costs as much labour as its employment would save, there is nothing but a transposition of labour, and no increase in the productivity of labour. The productiveness of a machine is measured by the extent to which it saves human labour-power. Consequently, it is no contradiction at all to the principle of machine production that, generally speaking, a comparison of commodities produced by handicrafts or manufactures with the same commodities produced by machinery shows that, in the product of machinery, the value due to the instruments of labour increases relatively, that is, relatively to the total value of the product, although it decreases absolutely.

The use of machinery for the exclusive purpose of cheapening the product is limited in this way, that less labour must be expended in producing the machinery than is displaced by the employment of that machinery. Now, as we have previously seen, capital does not pay for the labour expended, but only for the value of the labour-power expended; therefore, the limit to using a machine is fixed by the difference between the value of the machine and the value of the labour-power replaced by it.

Since the actual wage of the worker at one time sinks below the value of his labour-power, at another rises above it, in various countries, at various times, and in various branches of industry, the difference between the price of the machinery and the price of labour-power which it replaces may vary considerably. It is only this difference that determines the cost, to the capitalist, of producing a commodity, and through the pressure of competition, influences his action. Hence it comes to pass that nowadays some machines which prove profitable in one country are not adopted in another. Stone-breaking machines were invented in North America, but were not adopted in the Old World, because there the proletarians who performed this labour were paid for such a small fraction of their work that machines would have increased the cost of production to the capitalists.

Low wages are an obstacle to the introduction of machines, and even from this standpoint a drawback to social development.

Only a society where the antagonism between capital and labour is abolished will afford full scope for the employment of machinery.

(3) The Proximate Effects of Machinery on the Workman

“In so far as machinery dispenses with muscular powers, it becomes a means of employing labourers of slight muscular strength, and those whose bodily development is incomplete, but whose limbs are all the more supple. The mighty substitute for labour and labourers was forthwith changed into a means for increasing the number of wage-labourers by enrolling, under the direct sway of capital, every member of the workman’s family, without distinction of age or sex.” Compulsory work for the capitalist usurped the place, not only of the children’s play, but also of free labour at home for the family. “The labour of women and children was the first thing sought for by capitalists who used machinery.”

The effects of this were equally disastrous for the working class in economic, social, and moral respects.

So far the value of labour-power had been determined by the labour-time necessary for the maintenance, not only of the individual adult worker, but of the whole working-class family, whose breadwinner he was. Now, as wife and children were also drawn into the labour market and had the opportunity of earning, the value of the labour-power of the man came in time to be spread over his whole family. And to this movement in the value of labour-power is adapted with astonishing rapidity the corresponding movement in its price, that is, in wages. Instead of the father, the whole family must gradually work for wages in order to exist and to provide capital not only with labour, but with surplus labour. In this manner machinery not only increases the exploitable material, but also raises the degree of exploitation.

This does not, however, exclude the possibility of a certain nominal increase in the income of the workman’s family. When, instead of the father, the father, mother, and two children work, the total wage is in most cases higher than the previous wage of the father alone. But the costs of maintenance have likewise increased. The machine signifies greater economies in the factory, but the machine industry puts an end to economies in the workman’s household. The factory worker cannot be a housewife at the same time. Economy and care in the utilisation of food become impossible.

Previously the workman had sold his own labour-power, which was at his disposal as a free person, at least nominally. Now he becomes a slave dealer and sells wife and child to the factory. If the capitalist pharisee publicly denounces this “cruelty,” he forgets that it is he himself who created it, exploits it, and seeks to perpetuate it under the beautiful title of “freedom of labour.” The cruelty of the working parents, however, is incompatible with the great fact that the limitation of female and child labour in the English factories was wrested from capital by the adult male workers.

Marx cites numerous testimonies in support of the shocking effects of the factory labour of women and children. We refer the reader to these, and would here quote an instance at a later date, from Singer’s book Investigations into the Social Conditions in the Factory Districts of North Eastern Bohemia (Leipzig, 1885). The data in this book enables us to make a comparison between the mean infantile mortality in a country which was almost a stranger to modern industry, Norway, and the districts in which modern industry was highly developed, without at that time being restricted by labour protection legislation. We mean North Eastern Bohemia.

Between 1866 and 1874 the infantile mortality below the age of 1 year was 1,063 for every 10,000 viable births. On the other hand, the infantile mortality in respect of every 10,000 viable births was as follows in the highly industrial districts mentioned:–

Below the age of one

Hohenelbe ..............


Gablonz ..................


Braunau .................


Trautenau ...............


Reichenberg ............


Friedland .................


The infantile mortality in the factory districts was therefore three to four times as great as in backward Norway. The great mortality in the former case cannot, as the Malthusians would have it, be ascribed to the excessive fertility of the population. The total number of births is rather an exceptionally small one. In the districts investigated by Singer, the birth rate per 1,000 inhabitants was not quite 35, whereas it was almost 42 for Germany, and over 40 for the whole of Austria.

In addition to the physical and moral deterioration, the transformation of undeveloped persons into mere machines for the fabrication of surplus-value induced a state of mind “clearly distinguishable from that natural ignorance which keeps the mind fallow without destroying its capacity for development, its natural fertility.”

Yet the assembling of women and children to form a combined working personnel, brought about by machinery, has a beneficial effect : it eventually assists to break down the opposition which the male workers in manufacture are still offering to the despotism of capital.

What is the object of machinery, and why does the capitalist introduce machines? To lighten the toil of his worker? By no means. The object of machinery is to cheapen commodities through increasing the productivity of labour, and to shorten that portion of the working-day which the workman needs for the production of the value of his labour-time, for the benefit of that portion during which he creates surplus-value.

We have seen, however, that machinery is all the more productive the smaller the fraction of its own value which it imparts to a definite quantity of commodities. And this fraction is all the smaller the greater the mass of products which it creates, whereas this mass of products is all the greater the longer the period during which the machine is running. Is it therefore a matter of indifference to the capitalist whether this “working-period” of his machinery is distributed over 15 years, running 8 hours daily, or over 7½ years, running 16 hours daily? Mathematically the period of usage is the same in both cases. But our capitalist reckons differently.

He says to himself in the first place: By running 16 hours daily for 7½ years the machine does not impart any more value to the total product than by running 8 hours daily for 15 years. On the other hand, in the former case it reproduces its value twice as fast as in the latter, and places me in the pleasant position of being able to pocket as much surplus-value in 7½ years as I otherwise could in 15 years – apart from other advantages which the prolongation of the working-day involves.

Further: My machine does not merely wear out by being used, but also when it stands still, and is therefore exposed to the influence of the elements.

Resting is rusting. This latter species of wear and tear is pure loss, which I can avoid in the degree that I curtail the period of idleness.

Again: In our age of continual technical revolutions, I must daily be prepared for the fact that my machine will be depreciated by some competitor that is more cheaply produced or represents a technical improvement. Consequently, the quicker I can replace its value, the slighter will be the danger of this fatality.

In passing, this danger is the greatest during the first introduction of machinery into any branch of production; here the new methods follow hot foot upon each other. In such circumstances, the attempts to prolong the working-day are more resolute than elsewhere.

Our capitalist continues: My machines, my buildings and so on represent a capital of so many pounds. If the former stand still, my whole capital lies idle and useless; therefore, the longer they are running, the sooner I shall get my value out of them and also out of that portion of my capital invested in buildings, etc.

To these considerations of the capitalist is to be added a motive of which he is at least as unconscious as his advocate, the political economist, but which in very powerful. The capitalist procures his machines in order to save wages variable capital), so that henceforth one worker will create in an hour as many commodities as previously in three or four.

The machine increases the productivity of labour, and thereby enables surplus-labour to be extended at the expense of necessary labour, thus raising the rate of surplus-value. But it can only achieve this result by diminishing the number of workers employed by a given amount of capital. Machine industry converts a portion of capital which was previously variable, that is, was expended upon living labour-power, into machinery, that is, into constant capital.

We know, however, that the mass of surplus-value is determined in the first place by the rate of surplus-value, and, secondly, by the number of workers employed. With the introduction of machinery in capitalist modern industry, it is sought to increase the first factor, the mass of surplus-value, through the diminution of the second. Hence the application of machinery to the production of surplus-value implies an immanent contradiction. This contradiction drives capital to excessive lengthening of the working day, in order that the decrease in the relative number of labourers exploited may be compensated by an increase not only of the relative, but also of the absolute surplus-labour.

The capitalist employment of machinery therefore creates a series of new and powerful motives for the excessive prolongation of the working-day. But it also increases the opportunities for its prolongation. As the machine functions continuously, in its efforts to prolong the working day, capital has only to reckon with the limits imposed by the natural fatigue of the attendant upon the machine, that is, of the worker, and with his opposition. The latter is broken down both by attracting to production the more pliable female and child elements, and by the creation of a “redundant” labouring population, consisting of the workers set free by the machines. In this manner the machine throws to the winds all the moral and natural limitations of the working day, and, in spite of its being “the most powerful instrument for shortening labourtime,” it becomes an unfailing means for placing every moment of the worker’s time and that of his family at the disposal of the capitalist for the purpose of expanding the value of his capital.

Marx concludes the section in which he demonstrates the foregoing with the following words: “‘If,’ dreamed Aristotle, the greatest thinker of antiquity, ‘if every tool, when summoned or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it, just as the creations of Daedalus moved of themselves, or the tripods of Hephaestus went of their own accord to their sacred work, if the weavers’ shuttles were to weave of themselves, then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers, or of slaves for their lords.’ And Antiparos, a Greek poet of the time of Cicero, hailed the invention of the water wheel for grinding corn, an invention that is the elementary form of all machinery, as the giver of freedom to female slaves, and the bringer back of the golden age. Oh! these heathens! they understood, as the learned Bastiat and before him the still wiser MacCulloch have discovered, nothing of political economy and Christianity. They did not, for example, comprehend that machinery is the surest means of lengthening the working day. They perhaps excused the slavery of one on the ground that it was a means to the full development of another. But to preach slavery of the masses, in order that a few crude and half-educated parvenus might become ‘eminent spinners,’ ‘extensive sausage makers,’ and ‘influential shoe black dealers,’ to do this, they lacked the bump of Christianity.”

The more the machine system, and with it a special class of experienced workmen habituated to the use of machinery, developed, the more the velocity and with it the intensity of labour increased as a natural consequence. This heightened intensity of labour, however, is only possible so long as the working-day is not extended beyond a certain limit, just as at a certain stage of development an increase in the intensity of labour is only possible with a corresponding shortening of the working day. When it is a question of work repeated day after day with unvarying uniformity, Nature imperatively commands: thus far and no farther.

In the first period of factory industry the prolongation of the working-day and the growing intensity of labour went hand in hand in England. So soon, however, as the legal restriction of the working day, enforced by the indignant working class, deprived capital of the opportunity for securing an increased production of surplus-value by the first way, it bent all its energies to obtaining the desired result by an accelerated development of the machine system and greater economies in the production process.

Previously the method of producing relative surplus-value had generally consisted in permitting the worker, through the increased productivity of labour, to produce more in the same time with the same expenditure of labour. Now the aim was to obtain a greater quantity of products by an augmented expenditure of labour in the same time. The shortening of the working-day resulted in increasing the tension of the labour-power of the worker, in a “closer filling up of the pores of the working-day,” that is, in a greater condensation of work. He had to do more work in an hour of the 10-hour working-day than formerly in an hour of the 12-hour working-day. A greater mass of labour was compressed within a given period.

We have already indicated the two methods whereby this result can be obtained : greater economy in the labour process and accelerated development of the machine system. In the first case, capital takes care, by employing a mode of remuneration (especially piece wages, to which we shall return later), that the worker exerts more labour-power in the shorter working-day than formerly. The regularity, uniformity, order, and pace of work are increased. Even where capital cannot employ the second means, that is, cannot squeeze more work out of the worker through the increased velocity of the circulation of the driving machine or extension of the scope of the machine requiring attendance, even there results are obtained in this connection which give the lie to all the doubts that have previously been raised. On almost every occasion when the working-day is shortened, the manufacturers declare that work is so carefully supervised in their establishments, and their workers are so much on the alert, that it would be absurd to expect any considerable result from tightening the screws. And these curtailments are barely carried out before the same manufacturers are obliged to admit that in the shorter working time their workers not only perform as much, but sometimes even more, work than previously in the longer working time, even with the same instruments of labour. The same reasoning applies to the perfection of machinery. Often as it is declared that we have reached the limits of what can be attained for a long time, just as often are these limits overstepped within a short time.

So strong is the intensification of the labour of the worker under a shortened working-day that the English factory inspectors, although “they were never tired of praising the favourable results of the Factory Acts of 1844 and 1850,” admitted in the ’sixties that the shortening of the working day had already produced a result which was undermining the workers’ health.

Those who believe that the introduction of a normal working-day will establish harmony between capital and labour are suffering from a great delusion.

“There cannot be the slightest doubt,” states Marx, “that the tendency, that urges capital, so soon as a prolongation of the hours of labour is once for all forbidden, to compensate itself by a systematic heightening of the intensity of labour, and to convert every improvement in machinery into a more perfect means of exhausting the workman, must soon lead to a state of things in which a reduction in the hours of labour will again be inevitable.”

Where the 10-hour normal working-day was introduced, the efforts of the manufacturers above indicated rendered the 8-hour working-day necessary within a measurable period of time.

In our view, this is an argument for, not against, the normal working day. Like every genuine social reform, its effects are not confined to its immediate sphere of influence. It is an element in the further development, not in the stagnation, of society.


[1] Note missing.

[2] Note missing.

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