Graphic Witness: Hugo Gellert
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Hugo Gellert: Karl Marx' 'Capital' in Lithographs

page 40. DIVISION OF LABOR AND MANUFACTURE
Twofold Origin of Manufacture
The Detail Worker and his Implement


DIVISION OF LABOR AND MANUFACTURE: twofold origin of manufacture; the detail worker and his implement

. . . Manufacture originates in two ways.

The first way is when workers practicing different and independent crafts, through whose hands a given article must pass on its way to completion, are assembled in one workshop under the control of one capitalist. For instance, in former days a carriage was the joint product of the labor of a great number of independent craftsmen, such as wheelwrights, harness-makers, tailors, locksmiths, upholsterers, turners, haberdashers, glazers, painters, polishers, gilders, etc. In the manufacture of carriages, these various craftsmen are assembled in one workplace, where they work into one another's hands. . .

The second way in which manufacture originates is the reverse of the foregoing. a number of operatives who all do the same thing or similar things, such as paper-making, type-founding, or needle-making, are simultaneously employed in the workshop by the same unit of capital. This is cooperation in its simplest form. . . .

It becomes necessary to make a larger quantity of finished commodities within a given space of time. For this reason, the work is redistributed. Instead of having the different operations carried out by one operative in serial order, the operations are separate one from another, are isolated, are carried on side by side. Each of them is allotted to a different operative, and all of them are carried on simultaneously by the cooperating workmen. . . . The commodity, instead of being the individual product of an independent operative who performs numerous operations, has been transformed into the social product of a group of operatives, each of whom henceforward performs one, and only one of the necessary partial operations. . . .

. . . A worker who carries out one and the same simple operation . . . will be able to perform it more quickly than an operative who has to perform a whole series of different operations. . . . Moreover, the method of detail work [assembly line production] is perfected after it has become the exclusive function of one person.

. . . The manufacturing period simplifies, improves, and multiplies the implements of labor by adapting them to the exclusive and peculiar functions of the detail worker. Therewith it simultaneously creates one of the material conditions for the existence of machinery, which arises out of a combination of simple instruments.

The detail worker and his instruments form the simple elements of manufacture. . . .

The foundation of all highly developed division of labor that is brought about by the exchange of commodities is the cleavage between town and country. We may say that the whole economic history of society is summarized in the development of this cleavage between town and country. . . .

Since the production and circulation of commodities are the general prerequisites of the capitalist method of production, the manufacturing division of labor cannot arise until the division of labor within society has developed to a certain extent. . . .

Despite the many analogies and ties between the division of labor in society and the division of labor in a workshop, the two must not be regarded as different grades of the same process, for they are essentially distinct. The analogy between them is most undeniable when there is an invisible bond connecting various branches of industry. For instance, the cattle breeder produces hides; the tanner makes the hides into leather, and the bootmaker makes the leather into boots. Each of them produces a graded product, and the finished form is the combined output of all their separate labors. . . . But what is the nature of the connection between the independent labors of the cattle breeder, the tanner, and the bootmaker? The tie is the existence of their respective products as commodities. What, on the other hand, characterizes the manufacturing division of labor? The fact that the detail worker does not produce commodities. It is only the joint product of a number of detail workers which becomes transformed into a commodity. . . .

Division of labor in manufacturing implies the concentration of the means of production in the hands of one capitalist; social division of labor implies the dispersion of the means of production among many mutually independent producers of commodities. . . .

Whereas in society at large the division of labor, whether it be or be not brought about by the exchange of commodities, is a feature of societies of the most diversified economic types -- the manufacturing variety of division of labor is a development peculiar to the capitalist method of production.