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Re: <nettime> Means of production: The factory-floor knowledge economy (
Matze Schmidt on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:24:06 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Means of production: The factory-floor knowledge economy (le monde diplo)


Hello,

as far as I can see (read) the text is about the relationship

tech : new tech : tech control : exploitation

but the economical reasons felt behind.

Leaving beside the question of the universality of the "universal
fubber" and whether a DIY-die casting can become a new biz model for
masses (artists, makers, hobbyists, pseudo self-employed/make-believe
entrepreneurs) meating at media art or techno fairs and festivals
forcing back taylorism/fordism for the weekends, it is an old story of
the machine-tool--and machines that create machines--which subsequently
hit the old structure of economy and technology. Automation can be
regarded as the likewise old enemy of the unions--but in fact Unions
know that it gained knowledge of workers as well.
Funny but not surprising that very often engineers are not able to
handle the machinery in the production flow but workers are.

But what's most important here might be the question, if "the balance of
power shifted", one can ask which power? The one of knowhow at the
machine or the knowhow at the design? Or the knowhow of the investment
for the design? If only the power of worker's knowhow becomes part of
the stock that evokes a power shift it might be boring, 'cause this
leads back to knowhow as commodity (stock) and more knowhow (mean).

As far as I know established industries desperately need new production
lines which will end the factory (as building, place and topic) as cost
factor. Every flexibilisation of the product of the added-value will
keep profits up and hold averaged wages down. Crowdsourcing will be the
future in production and services even in factory building looking like
assemblages packed with workers like the established merchants they are,
as they are merchandising mainly their work, inclusive knowlegde (brain)
and strength (body).

But this statement is not without problems. It is constructed as if
technology and its management would be _the_ drives of economical
process(es). This has effects on the thinking of a big compromise of the
classes, like

sharing "decisions about, and the gains from, new technology."

that reduces the field to tech (machines of machines) and distribution
of tech and power of knowledge. This reductionism can be seen as the
main position of people like for instance Paulo Virno (and followers
like Matthew Fuller): As if the general intellect in terms of knowhow
itself or the general intellect in terms of a political control of
knowhow itself may be enough for a _balance of power shifted_.

Yes, one should remember that Babbage's drive was the decreasing of
labor costs (_*Economy* of Machinery and Manufactures_) followed by
social technologies for the differentiation of labour. Quoting
negativing his opinion about the dishonesty of humans reproduces the
machine-man complex only. By turning this figure the 'dishonesty' of
labor can be virtually zero with automation, averaged and freed from
wage but not singularised and freed from bad decisions about new
technology and its gains as revenues.

Best,

Matze

> (CNC)

> bicycles can be downloaded from the
> net.
 <...>


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