Mechanical Labour (again)

I can’t help returning to this question: what sense does it make to refer to mechanical labour? The problem is this, human labour involves pursuing activities with no immediate reward in order to obtain delayed advantage. It combines alienation from the immediacy of animal gratification with an expectation of subsequent gain. According to Hegel, this is what lends labour its rational character. Mechanical processes, however, lack any capacity to recognise alternative possibilities or to anticipate rewards. They proceed without any sense of self-abnegation or calculation. Mechanical labour is labour only in that it performs tasks that humans would prefer not to perform – or are less capable of performing. It is labour stripped of its humanly rational elements and rendered as pure, alienated agency. In this respect, there can be no sense of suffering or exploitation, but also, perhaps, no sense of domination. Machine labour, for the machines themselves, is not a form of discipline or subjection.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *