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Labour process and the division of labour, a reading

This article proposes an analysis of the labour process and the division of labour in capitalist production through a reading of Marx and a few others like Babbage and Braverman. The distinction between labour and labour power is used to expose the specificity of the labour process. Cooperation constitues the fundamental from of capitalist production, which entails a double-sided command (coordination to produce use-values and despotism to extract surplus-value). Formal subordination, i.e; the threat of lay-off, is historically and logically the primitive moment of labour's subordination to capital. The effect of the division of labour on productivity is only temporary. It principally deprives workers of their professional skills, increases real control by management, reduces labour power's value and prepares its replacement by machinery. There is an incessant struggle between labour and management over the control of the labour process and over skills.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 09074.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:09074
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