The Communist Manifesto


Karl Marx

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Division of labor Term Analysis

The division of labor is a consequence of capitalism and industrialization that breaks work up into smaller and more repetitive tasks. Marx and Engels argue that this division of labor drives down the skill level required for such work, and therefore widens the available pool of workers for the bourgeoisie to choose from. Because the work gets more boring and arduous—and the working hours become more punishing—workers become alienated from their jobs, only remaining in the work because they need money to survive. The division of labor can be contrasted with guilds.

Division of labor Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Division of labor or refer to Division of labor. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Communist Manifesto published in 2011.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians Quotes

Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrialist capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the individual army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Artisans
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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Division of labor Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Division of labor appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
I. Bourgeois and Proletarians
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
The use of machinery and the division of labor into smaller task have spoiled the “individual character” of work—there’s no “charm” left for the... (full context)
III. Socialist and Communist Literature
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
...say Marx and Engels. These petty-bourgeois writers proved the negative effects of machinery and the division of labor , and showed that the bourgeois capitalist system would lead to inequality, financial crises, and... (full context)