Labor and Labor Theory
Human beings have always evolved to make their lives better, and this has been associated with technology. One of the aspects of development that many people tend to overlook is labor. People and machines provide Labor, and they tend to determine the success of the production process. In the past, people lived in isolation and specialization was uncommon. However, with civilization, people moved from practicing labor at the social perspective to a detailed one. This change has greatly increased productivity while at the same time influencing negatively in craftsmanship. Scholars such as Marx, Baggage, and Rice show the different effects that division of labor has on production and the engaged employees.
Contrast between Social Division of Labor and Detail Division of Labor
The social division of labor is a derivative based on the human character while considering work. In comparison to animals, human beings are experts at forming division of labor according to the variety of standards associated with different species (Braverman, 1998). The animals, on the other hand, can only divide labor according to their single species. To explain this in a better perspective, humans can fish, weave, and hunt depending on the nature of their needs while animals can only engage in one of these activities based on the nature of their species. It would also be vital to consider that humans can only achieve all these activities in the society, and that shows why it is considered the Social Division of Labor, as described in Marx’s terminology (Braverman, 1998).
Detail Division of Labor refers to the division of labor in detail so that each individual only does a section of the entire work (Braverman, 1998). The point of detail division of labor is to break the production into different steps so that different people are responsible for the involved activities. This type of division of labor divides the society into various occupations while making them vital for the overall process.
In contrast, a capitalist society depends on anarchy and chaos to enforce the social division of labor while the detail division of labor is brought about by planning and control (Braverman, 1998). This shows that a society can easily have both types of division of labor while having different forces determine the ideal one based on the involved production. In addition, the commodities derived with social division of labor can be exchanged as finished goods while those derived through detail division of labor are owned under the same capital. For instance, in the social division of labor, one can produce baskets and then trade the same for money or even other commodities depending on the estimated value (Braverman, 1998). With detail division of labor, each person is involved in production of a commodity, so that the final produce becomes a combination of efforts by different persons. It would also be vital to note that social division of labor divides the society while detail division of labor subdivides humans.[“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]
Social Consequences of the Capitalist Organization of Production
The use of Capitalistic Organization of Production affects people at the societal level in different ways. The modern world divides production based on labor, which can either be considered the social or detailed division of labor (Braverman, 1998). The primary consequence of capitalistic organization of production is based on the individual level rather than society. As stated by Marx, detail division of labor, which is common with capitalist organization limits people to a specific stage of production, and that affects their social potentials. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]
Capitalist organizations place more emphasis on time and profit making, which determines the choices in production. For instance, people can make greater production when producing more commodities on a single stage before embarking on the next stages. Alternatively, if one were to go through all stages in the production of a commodity when a huge volume is involved, then more time would be wasted. This means that capitalism has made society familiarize with detail division of labor as opposed to the social division of labor. In essence, quantities are the determining factor in production as that guarantees higher profits.
Based on a social perspective, the use of detail division of labor limits the potential of the involved persons to specific roles. Even though this has been found to be more effective in production, one should also consider the effects it would have on the involved persons. There is a possibility that the involved workers would have been able to handle different stages but this model limits them to specific duties, and that compares them to machines. In essence, capitalism eliminates craft from the workers as it only considers the results, which are profits (Braverman, 1998). This is because the workers might be conversant with the different stages of production, but with division of labor, they will fail to use their craft in the different stages. Therefore, capitalist organization of production has resulted in the reduction of craft in society by breaking down the production process.
The Babbage Principle and its application to the Labor Process results in Degradation of Work
The Babbage principle states that the production process should be broken down to make the process much simpler for the involved persons. In this case, the broken steps would be assigned to workers, depending on their specialty to maximize production. He proposed that production process is broken based on the nature of difficulty. For instance, the most difficult stages would be broken down and assigned to workers to optimize the production process.
The application of Babbage’s principle to the labor process involves involving the workers only in the stages for which they are specialized. While considering the societal progress, this becomes an obstacle, as it would affect the workers that would initially be in a position to handle different stages of production. In addition, his principle further makes it possible for managers to calculate the wage differences when involving detail division of labor and societal division of labor. Based on several studies conducted by Babbage, it was discovered that the detail division of labor model was cheaper for most manufacturers while speeding up the production process.
It would also be important to note that Babbage’s principle enables employers to calculate the productivity rates of workers on a gender basis. For instance, male workers are likely to be chosen for different production steps provided they prove to be faster than female workers. The fact that it gives the employers the ability to monetize the entire production process shows that it could influence gender discrimination. In essence, the capitalist model destroys all round skills by creating only the occupations that correspond to its needs, and that shows how it degrades work (57). [Click Essay Writer to order your essay]
Analysis of Rice’s work to illustrate the effects described by Braverman
Rice’s play is based on the life of a bookkeeper who faces marital problems due to his inability to get a promotion for twenty-five years. He has been active in the role and demonstrated his ability to carry out all duties as the store bookkeeper (Elmer, 2004). The play demonstrates different cases of division of labor and its influences on people’s relationships. For instance, Zero’s wife stays at home performing household duties such as cleaning, washing, and cooking for her husband. Zero, on the other hand, plays the role of providing all needs for the house from his job as a bookkeeper. This means that at the household, a societal division of labor determines how operations are run. This is the case because the wife performs many duties while the husband also provides a range of duties rather than just financial needs.
While considering the bookstore, detail division of labor is evident as all persons are tasked with duties that contribute towards the final product. Zero has been at his position for twenty-five years because he is excellent at the position and the store manager sees no need for his promotion. This shows why Braverman stated that the manufacturers and producers usually consider the detailed division of labor as profitable as it saves time while increasing productivity (Braverman, 1998). This further proves the fact stated by Braverman that division of labor kills craftsmanship. Zero’s wife obviously saw a lot of potential in him and always expected that he would be promoted to a senior position with better pay. While such is the expectation that people are made to believe with capitalism, the producers also tend to make people stay longer in their positions as it is profitable.
This further shows how detailed division of labor affects people’s interaction in society. Zero becomes unhappy in his position and expresses his anger towards Daisy, who has nothing to do with his current predicament. Even though the division of labor is seen as development, it has negative effects on societal interactions.
As one can see, there is more to the division of labor than what people often assume. Capitalism has made people only view at the financial gains brought about by this development, but it is vital that people also understand the challenges. In this case, Rice provides an example of a real life scenario that is affected by division of labor. In addition, Braverman also provides details of the division of labor and the motivational factors behind the same.
Braverman, H. (1998). Labor and monopoly capital: The degradation of work in the twentieth century. New York: NY Monthly Review Press.
Elmer, R. (2004). The Adding Machine. UNZ, 457-478. Retrieved from UNZ: http://www.unz.org/Pub/BurnettWhit-1942-00459