Summary: Marx’s changes from the Grundrisse to Capital on the “automaton” and on machinery are connected to more recent Marxist debates over automation – Editors
This article was originally written in 2019, just a few months prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. I began editing this article as the pandemic began to shift our everyday operations, surrounded by speculation about how COVID-19 would shape a world where devalued and essential workers were essentially sacrificed to the virus while white-collar workers were able to shift to work from home.
Still, the changes the world has seen since then have been more peculiar than I initially imagined. Aside from the stratification of COVID-related deaths that mirrored SES inequalities, disability activists and advocates have rightfully acknowledged the pandemic as a “mass-disabling event” while emphasizing longstanding social and political structures that seek to exclude and eliminate disabled folks from everyday life.[i]
In early 2020, in light of the death and disability in the wake of an inadequate response to the virus, the Brookings Institution published an article that anticipated a rise in automation in response to the pandemic that would make “routine” occupations such as food service and transportation more precarious than they already are.[ii] In 2021, empirical studies tracked rising inequality throughout the pandemic, confirming the link between exacerbated inequalities and automation. Studies in more recent years show a continued exacerbation of these inequalities among lines of gender, education level, and, on an international scale, between nations. [iii]
Now, despite lessening severity of COVID symptoms on the whole, the world finds itself amid a new wave of the most infectious (and still sometimes fatal) variant yet (XBB.1.6, AKA “Arcturus”).[iv] Automation and COVID have worked symbiotically to reshape countless chains of labor, erode job security for many, and make even “intellectual” work more mechanical and alienating. As socioeconomic inequalities continue to deepen and as less protected sectors of the workforce and those unable to work must brace themselves for this wave, another critical look at our rapidly evolving relationship to work is warranted.
This pattern—that of impending recession and increasing automation, is nothing new. Once again, the questions of what should be automated and, more importantly, what the circumstances of automation should be, have become relevant to the crux of the world’s situation. There are still starry-eyed Marxists who believe that automation in and of itself has the potential to break humanity free from the albatross of necessary labor. Nevertheless, before imagining automation as it may exist in the future, we must first root our analysis in the historical and current role of automation (and those who control and adopt automation processes) within the strictures of capitalism.
I will endeavor here to track an ongoing dialogue surrounding the promises and the functions of automation through the consideration of four theorists, beginning with Marx. In the “Section on Machines” of the Grundrisse, Marx traces out the ultimate logic of machine production. He first imagines the material conditions which would be required to reach a society built on such machines, then goes on to imagine the implications that the machines would have on society. Both Herbert Marcuse in 1964 and Paul Mason in 2015 begin to recontextualize this concept within their own worlds, each searching for the “breaking point” of capitalism as they retrace the thought experiment that Marx laid out long before them. Marx himself also addresses his thought experiment and tempers it with his observations of labor during the late Industrial Revolution in Chapter 15 of Capital, Volume I. Finally, Raya Dunayevskaya addresses Marx’s provocative piece in Grundrisse as one of pure theory, bringing it into direct contrast with the way the issue of machinery is addressed in Chapter 15 of Capital.
To begin, Marx defines these ideal machines and their capacities in Grundrisse. He states that in capitalism, “the [instruments] of labor [pass] through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery”.[v] It is only at this point that machines become a system in and of themselves, without the need for non-supervisory human labor. Therefore, an automatic system of production — seen by some as prefigurative of what was later called “automation” — must be “set in motion by an automaton, a moving power that moves itself” (p. 692). Given the existence of the automaton, “The worker’s activity, reduced to a mere abstraction of activity, is determined and regulated on all sides by the movement of the machinery, and not the opposite,” with living “Labour [appearing], rather merely as a conscious organ, scattered among the individual workers at numerous points of the mechanical system” (p. 693) If the automaton can reduce the amount of living labor in the process of production, it becomes crucial to identify precisely what qualities differentiate the automaton from previous instruments of labor which relied, to any extent, on living labor. On this, Marx states that in the case of the automaton, “it is the machine which possesses skill and strength in place of the worker, is itself the virtuoso, with a soul of its own” (p. 692-693). Therefore, it is in the process of automation that a subject-object reversal takes place in between the human workers and the machines which they once, as subjects, exerted their power onto. Given that the nature of capital is to valorize itself, it follows that the transformation of the machine into an independent “instrument of labor” means that disposable (or free) time, rather than labor time, can now become the measure of wealth.
However, the possibility of an automaton must be precluded before the close examination of machines—especially the way that machines dominate and enchain workers in order to produce capital. Marx states that it is precisely in the form of machinery that objectified labor confronts and can take control over living labor (p. 693). It is this confrontation that defines a “historical reshaping of the traditional, inherited means of labor into a form adequate to capital” (p. 694). In other words, the machine’s subjugation and objectification of the worker revolutionizes the nature of labor itself by integrating it into the capital relation. However, as capital advances, particularly in the form of machines, it “quite unintentionally…. reduces human labor, expenditure of energy, to a minimum” — this reduction taken to its ultimate end would totally undo the chain between machine and labor, and thus “redound to the benefit of emancipated labor and is the condition of [labor’s] emancipation” from capitalism itself (p. 791).
Marx finds that under capitalism and its machines, there are “monstrous disproportion[s]” in two aspects: (1) the disproportion between labor time and the sheer amount of product produced and (2) the disproportion between labor, incredibly abstracted by its relationship to machines, and the “power of production [which abstracted labor] superintends” (p. 705). From this he characterizes a unique quality of the modern worker, whose labor has the tendency to continually become more abstracted as capital advances: “the human being comes to relate more as watchman and regulator to the production process itself” (p. 705). The roles of watchman and regulator are apt characterizations of living labor abstracted to an absurd point– a point which is contingent on the levels of production and independence achieved by the machine.
Out of this absurdity, a new society becomes possible. According to Marx, the “forces of production and social relations [within capitalism] are the material conditions to blow [capital’s] foundation sky-high” (p. 706). This is because, he claims, the measure of a nation’s true wealth is “not command over surplus labor time […] but rather, [the amount of] disposable time outside that needed in direct production, for every individual and the whole society” (p. 706). Furthermore, any “development of fixed capital indicates to what degree general social knowledge has become a direct force of production, and to what degree…. the conditions of the process of social life itself have come under the control of the general intellect” (p. 706). The general intellect, by way of science and art, serves to continually modify production and is only another concept by which capital expands. Imagining the repercussions of both disposable time and of the general intellect, Marx suggests that disposable time made possible by technology is ultimately only used to contribute to the furthering of capital. Capital does not simply allow workers to use their own disposable time freely; it relies on the disposable time which it affords its workers through extortion, who then further capital in return. This process can repeat to accelerate the movement and growth of capital exponentially. Marx phrases this more formulaically here: “To the degree that production aimed at the satisfaction of immediate need becomes more productive, a greater part of production can be directed towards […] the production of means of production” (p. 709-710).
It is crucial to emphasize that disposable time is not synonymous with leisure time. Rather, capitalism only has the potential to create leisure time due to the tendency of capital to “reduce labour time to a minimum, while it posits labour time […] as sole measure and source of wealth. Hence it diminishes labour time in the necessary form so as to increase it in the superfluous form” (p. 706). This does not assure that the value of workers’ “superfluous” labor will cease to be stolen by the capitalists they work for. To that point, he notes that “Capital employs machinery […] only to the extent that it enables the worker to work a larger part of his time for capital” (p. 701).
However, Marx also considers the implications of a potential increase in free time due to technological advancements under capitalism. First, he defines free time as “both idle time and time for higher activity [which] has naturally transformed its possessor into a different subject”, thus recognizing a transformative quality of free time on the human being (p. 712). Furthermore, he acknowledges that this noted change in human nature is inextricably tied with the progression of technology, since a human with free time, “enters into the direct production process as this different subject” (p. 712). In other words, as human beings enter production and, through their alteration of productive forces change the ways in which they interact with the world, they continually change not just the nature of production, but their own nature as well (p. 712).
- One Dimensional Man
Marcuse connects the “Section on Machines” in the Grundrisse to the changing world during the Arms Race and at the height of the Cold War, revisiting many key concepts that Marx puts forth in the “Section on Machines”. He places a unique emphasis on the character of workers under increased automation, but nonetheless minimizes their subjectivity within the strictures of advanced capitalism.
Reflecting the concerns of the time in which his One-Dimensional Man was published, Marcuse defines the Arms Race and, moreover, the burgeoning military industrial complex (MIC), as fuel for the advancement of capitalism. He defines the codependent relationship between “productive establishments” and the military as a “vicious circle […]which is self-expanding and self-perpetuating in its own preestablished direction-driven by the growing needs which it generates and, at the same time, contains.[vi] This description exemplifies the dominating, self-moving nature of capital by illustrating vividly how technology (as capital) can maintain its own momentum and thus entrap the human element and rob it of its subjectivity. Referring to the statist communism of the Soviet Union, Marcuse even claims that, given a lack of nuclear war, “communism would continue to coexist with capitalism [and] the latter would continue to be capable of maintaining and even increasing the standard of living for an increasing part of the population-in spite of and through intensified production of the means of destruction, and methodical waste of resources and faculties” (p. 34).
Marcuse defines automated machinery as “the reification of human labor power, driven to perfection” (p. 37). According to Marcuse, once perfected, machinery would cut the ties that tethered human labor to it and thereby bring about free time for each person to better themselves and society (p. 37). Marcuse characterizes this breaking point of capitalism as “the historical transcendence toward a new civilization” (p. 37).
Referring to a study by Serge Mallet of a Caltex refinery in France to demonstrate this new worker character, Marcuse claims that “The same technological organization which makes for a mechanical community at work also generates a larger interdependence which integrates the worker with the plant. Mallet notes an ‘eagerness’ on the part of the workers ‘to share in the solution of production problems’” (p. 30). A related phenomenon at this refinery is that “the capitalist bosses and owners are losing their identity as responsible agents [as] the tangible source of exploitation disappears behind the facade of objective rationality.” (p. 32). The eagerness of workers and lack of managerial agency here create a flattening effect; both are contained within the parameters of the same system and obtain similar characters which approach that of the “Watcher and Regulator”. Marcuse suggests that this is largely due to the “ever-more-complete mechanization of labor” in such factories (p. 35).
This suggestion would reach its zenith in total automation, as was developed in the early 1960s. Marcuse claims that “the reification of human labor power, driven to perfection, would shatter the reified form by cutting the chain that ties the individual to the machinery-the mechanism through which his own labor enslaves him” (p. 34-35). This definition is related to Marx’s automaton, which is the one necessity on which any self-realizing mechanical system lies. Here, Marcuse describes the entrapments of capital reaching a crux at which they become liberatory and pave the way for a utopian society. Against this backdrop, Marcuse, citing the Grundrisse, describes humans as relating to production externally, rather than internally, as “supervisor and regulator” (p. 36). In these circumstances, labor power ceases to become the basis of value– instead, one’s “knowledge and his mastery of nature through his societal existence-in one word: the development of the societal individual” takes precedence” (p. 36).
Again echoing Marx in the Grundrisse, Marcuse explains, “As soon as [immediate] human labor […] has ceased to be the great source of wealth, labor time will cease, and must of necessity cease to be the measure of wealth, and the exchange value must of necessity cease to be the measure of use value” (p. 36). Following this, “the idleness of the few has ceased to be the condition for the development of the universal intellectual faculties of man. The mode of production which rests on the exchange value thus collapses” (p. 36). This describes how the use of machines beyond a certain point collapses capitalism because value is based on living labor. Should living labor disappear to be replaced with machines and their watchmen, any creation of value in its capitalist iteration would be impossible. Marcuse explicitly mentions that the creation of a society beyond value is contingent upon a subject-object reversal between automated machinery and living labor power, further drawing from the “Section on Machines” (p. 36-37).
Marcuse bleakly ends this passage by commenting on the insufficiency of organized labor toward upending capitalism and critiquing the shortsightedness of US labor movements. According to Marcuse, “continued arrest of automation may weaken the competitive national and international position of capital, cause a long-range depression, and consequently reactivate the conflict of class interests” (p. 37). This suggests that Marcuse’s position on automation as the definitive road toward a post-capitalist society lies on the assumptions that the time for “conflict of class interests” ought to be over and that it is impossible to escape the inertia of capital as it continues toward automation. Marcuse follows these assumptions to put forth the opinion that it is more fruitful to bring automation to its breaking point than to study the dynamics of workers struggles. This is a position which Dunayevskaya critiques in Philosophy and Revolution.
III. The End of Capitalism Has Begun
Similar to Marcuse, Paul Mason contemporizes the “Section on Machines” in his 2015 article, “The end of capitalism has begun”. To begin, he imagines free information as the basis of a system beyond capital. He writes that a societal structure which he gives the self-evident label “postcapitalism” is possible now due to three changes in the last twenty-five years brought about by information technology.[vii] The first change is the “reduced need for work” and the related change that “blurred the edges between work and free time and loosened the relationship between work and wages”. The second change is that information as it currently exists and circulates “[corrodes] the market’s ability to form prices correctly”. He claims that the current structure of businesses and share valuations, due to their basis on the “capture and privatisation of all socially produced information”, are antithetical to an intrinsic human need to use ideas freely; a need which has been more easily met due to steadily increasing technological advances. Thirdly, the “spontaneous rise of collaborative production: goods, services and organisations are appearing that no longer respond to the dictates of the market and the managerial hierarchy”. An example of one such good is Wikipedia, which is maintained and updated by individuals worldwide without the expectation of any capital gain.
Mason positions these three changes as qualities of a society in which a new type of economy, which some theorists have labeled “‘cognitive’ capitalism”, can flourish. In such a society, the “knowledge content” of a product contains more value than the materials used to produce them. Since the value of this knowledge does not clearly derive from the materials nor labor input into them, it is difficult to understand the nature of value within cognitive capitalism. Mason claims that this difficulty stems from the dynamics of cognitive capitalism being “profoundly non-capitalist”. In the contradictions of this cognitive capitalism lie the first hints of postcapitalism.
Finally, Mason bolsters his arguments up to this point by relating them to passages from Marx’s “Section on Machines” in the Grundrisse. He writes that according to Marx, “once knowledge becomes a productive force in its own right, outweighing the actual labour spent creating a machine, the big question becomes […] who controls what Marx called the ‘power of knowledge’”. To Mason, pinpointing exactly in whose hands this “power of knowledge” lies in our current society is crucial to the understanding of how close we are to a postcapitalist future. He further clarifies that “in an economy where machines do most of the work, the nature of the knowledge locked inside the machines must […] ‘be social’”. Therefore, Mason posits, the “power of knowledge” in our society can be found within an “ideal machine”.
Mason’s concept of the ideal machine is derived from Marx’s concept of the automaton. Mason claims that the ideal machine “lasts forever and costs nothing” to reproduce and would, as “[Marx] said, add no value at all to the production process and rapidly, over several accounting periods, reduce the price, profit and labour costs of everything else it touched”. In other words, the output of the ideal machine would cease to be contingent on value added through labor, thus producing use-values even as value plummets to zero. According to Mason, we are already “surrounded by machines that cost nothing and could, if we wanted them to, last forever” in the form of information technology and freely available information. Mason relates this to Marx’s concept of the general intellect, claiming that Marx had imagined the general intellect as “something close to the information economy in which we live”. While this may be an exaggerated illustration of information technology, Mason’s description paints an optimistic picture of its potential.
After establishing his position that modern information technology is, at once, both an ideal machine and conducive of the general intellect, Mason offers some ideas about roads forward toward a postcapitalist society. He proposes that “The postcapitalist sector is likely to coexist with the market sector for decades, but major change is happening” and that the state will need to create infrastructure in order to facilitate it. This is similar to Marcuse’s idea that a more robust Welfare State will be required in the transition to a fully automated future, reflecting the faith that both thinkers have in automatons; machinery separated from the human element of living labor. Furthermore, Mason states that these initiatives should help information technologies drive labor and value down to zero and with “the aim of which should be to expand those technologies, business models and behaviours that dissolve market forces, socialise knowledge, eradicate the need for work and push the economy towards abundance”.
One thing Marcuse and Mason don’t consider enough is Marx’s second treatment of machinery, in Chapter 15 of Capital a decade later. Early in the chapter, Marx rebukes crude materialism, writing in a footnote that “The weaknesses of …. abstract materialism of natural science, a materialism which excludes the historical process, are immediately evident from the abstract and ideological conceptions expressed by its spokesmen whenever they venture beyond the bounds of their own specialty”.[viii] This comment foregrounds Chapter 15 of Capital as taking a more critical approach to the analysis of labor and automation than Marx’s abstract thought-experiment taken up years before in the Grundrisse.
Though Marx emphasizes the necessity of understanding the historical process, the historicism he refers to here implies a certain subjectivity– particularly the crucial elements of human agency, struggle, and how they move history. It is by considering this subjectivity that Marx moves past his writings in Grundrisse toward a more grounded account of automation in Capital. Far from being liberated by increasingly automated processes or being relegated to an abstracted “watchman” position, Marx sees workers in large-scale production being “appropriated by the process; [whereas] the process had previously been adapted to the worker” (p. 501). Here, he once again acknowledges a subject-object reversal between the worker and the machine, which embodies dead labor. However, he also acknowledges that the production process is imbued with a coerciveness which chains the worker to it. Workers become the “living appendages” which become necessary to continually power the machines and processes necessary for value creation (p. 614).
Furthermore, Marx readdresses the impact of automation on the working day. Antithetical to the idea of automation potentially shortening the working day as explored in Grundrisse, Marx now finds that machinery allows and demands an expansion of the working day under capitalism. He states that there is an “immanent contradiction in the application of machinery to the production of surplus-value, since, of the two factors of the surplus-value created by a given amount of capital, one, the rate of surplus-value, cannot be increased except by diminishing the other, the number of workers” (p. 531). In other words, it is necessary that workers are made superfluous by machinery to continue to assure the creation of surplus-value. In practice, the invention of machinery protects the interests of capital by two measures: the lengthening of the working day and the creation of a surplus population (p. 532). In regard to the first point, machines geared toward large-scale production “[sweep] away every moral and natural restriction on the length of the working day” by enabling workers to both work longer hours and by enabling bosses to switch workers out as needed to keep productive systems running (p. 532). Secondly, rather than machines simply decreasing the number of workers, “machinery produces a surplus population which is compelled to submit to the dictates of capital” (p. 532). It is crucial to note that machinery allows for a relative, not a total, decrease of workers. As machines continually deskill and standardize work, a greater amount of the population is made available as workers, thus broadening the workforce and creating a large surplus or workers. In the time of Capital, it was children and women who were dragged from the home and incorporated into factory work by the increased role of machines in large-scale production (p. 517).
With the broadening of the workforce and the subsequent drastic increase in surplus laborers, two general groups of workers are clearly delineated. There is, first, a small “superior class of workers…. composed of engineers, mechanics, joiners, etc.” whose skills are not replaceable by objectified labor in the form of machinery (p. 546). However, the much larger class is composed of “unskilled” workers. For unskilled workers, jobs are tied to machines and accordingly deskilled and standardized. Both the abstraction of their jobs through the intervention of machinery and the invention of a surplus population means that that these workers’ employment is precarious and that they are easily replaced. Although automation under capitalism makes the circumstances of the individual worker precarious, however, Marx also acknowledges that machines also serve to weaken workers’ power at the collective level by making workers redundant. He describes the innovation of new machinery not just as a power “inimical” to the worker, but as “the most powerful weapon for suppressing strikes, those periodic revolts of the working class against the autocracy of capital” (p. 562). He goes as far as to say, “It would be possible to write a whole history of the inventions made since 1830 for the sole purpose of providing capital with weapons against working-class revolt”, an observation that is just as possible and relevant today as it was during Marx’s writing (p. 563).
- Philosophy and Revolution
In response to the “Section on Machines” in the Grundrisse, Dunayevskaya reminds her readers of the importance of the Subject in any liberatory theory while elaborating on the theoretical necessity of that section within the whole of Marx’s body of work. Describing Marx’s frustration that Hegel’s dialectic was difficult for the masses to grasp and understand, Dunayevskaya purports that “It was not the mysticism, however, which limited the dialectical development in the economic sphere. It was the topic itself. That is to say, unless the Subject himself (the proletariat) recreates or rather creates anew the dialectic as it emerges from practice, there is no forward movement. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the section on Machinery” (69).[ix] Thus, Marx could not yet re-create the dialectic fully for his own time during the writing of the Grundrisse because there was no great movement which the workers were involved in creating that could have stimulated his thinking. Therefore, Dunayevskaya critiques Marx’s writings on machinery in the Grundrisse as overemphasizing “machinery as providing the material basis for the dissolution of capital” while workers are relegated to the passive stance of watchman and regulator (p. 70). This is in direct contrast to Chapter 15 of Capital, in which Marx’s writings on machinery place the emphasis on the “workers’ resistance to the discipline of capital in the process of production itself”, thus undercutting the mechanical determinism which was originally present in the Grundrisse (p. 70).
Like Marcuse and Mason, Dunayevskaya also addresses the tendency of human nature to change throughout time. However, she emphasizes the humanism and human agency of Marx’s theory rather than the way human nature would change in conjunction with machinery. Dunayevskaya writes that “it is living people who work out the meaning of philosophy by making the theory of liberation and the struggle to be free a unity […] Man’s true history does not begin until he is free, can develop all his innate talents, which class society, especially value-producing capital, throttles” (p. 74). Here, she emphasizes that humanity is not yet completely human until it breaks from the strictures of capitalist society. In a historical dialectical framework, it is precisely because of our situation in human “pre-history” that the subjective human struggle must always be central to overriding capitalism (p. 74). Ultimately, it is the subjectivity of humans which implicitly allows for theory and praxis to be combined in such a way that meaningfully integrates the particularities of the current moment. Dunayevskaya then pinpoints the 1860s as a crucial point at which “actual class struggles naturally were more intense” (p. 70). It is the practice that came out of the 1860s, a few years after the Grundrisse, that gives Marx a more substantive and subjective scope with which to assess the trend toward an increasingly mechanized industrial capitalism, leading to a less deterministic theory, one that he puts forth in Capital.
However, Dunayevskaya notes that Marx’s “Section on Machines” in Grundrisse does serve a crucial purpose. She tracks the shifting focus of Marx’s method of thinking as dialectical in its own right: “Indeed, as he recast Grundrisse for Capital, he broke with the very concept of theory” as a debate among theoreticians (p. 70). In the Grundrisse, she added, Marx’s formulation of “the ‘general’ contradiction of capital and the falling rate of profit are not made as integral to the ‘lot of the workers’ as when the actual class struggle at the point of production,” something that was easier for Marx to see in the turbulent 1860s as against the quiescent 1850s (p. 70). This recasting of Marx’s early material signifies a necessary “break with Hegel,” which allowed Marx to listen to “the masses from below– and, with them, to found a new continent of thought: Historical Materialism” (p. 75). After this shift, Marx was able to create a “Marxian ‘economics’” that integrated “the philosophy of human activity, [and] the class struggles and self-development of workers achieving their own emancipation” (p. 75). In a broad view, Marx’s writings in the Grundrisse are crucial because of their deep basis in theory as a dialogue among theoreticians. This same thing is also their biggest weakness. Marx continues to shift between theory and observation of the subject throughout his works, thus tempering pure theory against the realities of human experience and integrating human experience into more dynamic and substantive theory.
All things considered, Dunayevskaya considers Marx’s Capital to be his final word on machinery. This is because of the limitations of the dialectic as developed in the Grundrisse. One reason is that in order for the dialectic to come fully alive, so to speak, it must “spontaneously [emerge] from the developing Subject” (p. 73). It must also be developed as such, theoretically. The actions of the proletariat in the 1860s become pivotal to Marx’s theory in Capital because they possess this specific character, thus asserting the enduring importance of the subject within any substantive dialectic. Although Marcuse and Mason provide critical insights to their respective historical moments, this is a point that they fail to give sufficient acknowledgement. Despite the idealism of some, automation is not a panacea or a breaking point of an overburdened capitalist system. At the same time, machinery is not inherently some great evil. When we look at the current moment and to the future, we must look not just at automation’s promise, but to the workforce to understand the true character of machinery as situated in the reality of our world.
[i] Ducharme, Jamie, “Long COVID Experts and Advocates Say the Government Is Ignoring ‘the Greatest Mass-Disabling Event in Human History.” TIME USA (September 19, 2022). https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/2022/long-covid-experts-and-advocates-say-the-government-is-ignoring-the-greatest-mass-disabling-event-in-human-history; Barbarin, Imani, “Death by a Thousand Words: COVID-19 and the Pandemic of Ableist Media.” Refinery 29 (August 30, 2021). https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2021/08/10645352/covid-19-and-the-pandemic-of-ableist-media
[ii] Mark Muro, Robert Maxim, & Jacob Whiton, “The Robots Are Ready as the COVID-19 Recession Spreads.” Brookings (March 24, 2020). https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2020/03/24/the-robots-are-ready-as-the-covid-19-recession-spreads/
[iii] Wareman Bonilla, Leonardo et al., “Is the Covid-19 pandemic fast-tracking automation in developing countries? Evidence from Colombia.” Bank for International Settlements (November 10, 2022). https://www.bis.org/publ/work1048.htm; Wareman, Casey and Alex Chernoff, “Down and out: Pandemic-induced automation and labour market disparities of COVID-19.” Center for Economic Policy Research (February 2, 2021). https://cepr.org/voxeu/columns/down-and-out-pandemic-induced-automation-and-labour-market-disparities-covid-19
[iv] Akshay Syal, Sara G. Miller, “What to know about XBB.1.16, the ‘Arcturus’ variant.” NBC News (April 26, 2023). https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/covid-variant-arcturus-spreading-know-xbb116-rcna81572
[v] Karl Marx, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (Penguin Books, Inc., 2005), 692. Further page references directly in the text.
[vi] Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man: The Ideology of Industrial Society (Sphere Books, 1968), 33-34. Further page references directly in the text.
[vii] Paul Mason, “The End of Capitalism Has Begun,” The Guardian (July 7, 2015). Further citations from Mason are from this article.
[viii] Karl Marx, Capital: Volume I (Penguin Books, Inc., 1990), 494. Further page references directly in the text.
[ix] Raya Dunayevskaya, Philosophy and Revolution: From Hegel to Sartre, and from Marx to Mao. (Delacorte Pr., 1973), 69. Further page references directly in the text.