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Babies for the state

“The socialization of reproduction completed the process begun by the socialization of production itself—that is, by industrialization. Having expropriated the worker’s tools and concentrated production in the factory, industrialists in the opening decades of the twentieth century proceeded to expropriate the worker’s technical knowledge as well. By means of ‘scientific management,’ they broke down production into its component parts, assigned a specific function on the assembly line to each worker, and kept to themselves the knowledge of the productive process as a whole. In order to administer this knowledge, they created a vastly enlarged managerial apparatus, an army of engineers, technicians, personnel managers, and industrial psychologists drawn from the same pool of technical experts that simultaneously staffed the ‘helping professions.’ Knowledge became an industry in its own right, while the worker, deprived of the craft knowledge by which he had retained practical control of production even after the introduction of the factory system, sank into passive dependence. Eventually, industry organized management itself along industrial lines, splitting up the production of knowledge into routinized operations carried on by semiskilled clerical labor: secretaries, typists, computer card punchers, and other lackeys. The socialization of production—under the control of private industry—proletarianized the labor force in the same way that the socialization of reproduction proletarianized parenthood, by making parents unable to provide for their own needs without the supervision of trained experts.” – Christopher Lasch, The Minimal Self

Published inEconomicsPolitics & Law

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