The Labour Process and Alienation in Machinery and Science

  • David McLellan


So long as the means of labour remains a means of labour, in the proper sense of the word, as it has been directly and historically assimilated by capital into its valorisation process, it only undergoes a formal change, in that it appears to be the means of labour not only from its material aspect, but at the same time as a special mode of existence of capital determined by the general process of capital — it has become fixed capital. But once absorbed into the production process of capital, the means of labour undergoes various metamorphoses, of which the last is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery (‘automatic’ meaning that this is only the most perfected and most fitting form of the machine, and is what transforms the machinery into a system).


Productive Force Productive Power Labour Process Fixed Capital Labour Power 
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  1. 1.
    [Cf. James Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale, An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Health (1804).]Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    [Cf. Thomas Hodgskin, Labour Defended Against the Claims of Capital (London, 1825).]Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David McLellan 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • David McLellan
    • 1
  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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