Man, Work, and Society: A Reader in the Sociology of Occupations

By Sigmund Nosow; William H. Form | Go to book overview
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1. THE ATTRIBUTES OF AN INDUSTRIAL ORDER ·

Wilbert E. Moore


Capitalism and Industrialism

The cultural values and social institutions that converge in their bearing on modern industrialism may be classified under the following heads: (1) general features of capitalism and industrialism, (2) science, (3) technology, (4) individualism, and (5) rational division of labor. Since these have been closely interrelated in fact, the lines of distinction between them are in particular cases likely to be a little artificial. This is more especially true since it is possible to expand the connotations of "capitalism" or "individualism" or "division of labor" to include all the others. Nevertheless, we may make some reasonable separation, and proceed from the characteristics of capitalism to those of its close relatives. . . .

The system of ideas and principles that underlay factory production and complex industrial organization had--and continues to have--a number of distinct but interrelated elements. In the most general terms these may be grouped under two principal characteristics: (1) free labor and (2) a free market. . . .

The free labor characteristic of capitalism involves (a) emphasis upon the acquisitive individual, (b) individual technical efficiency, and (c) private ownership of productive goods. . . . In the most general terms a free market is one that is not positively regulated or manipulated by any social agency or organization, political or otherwise, but that is rather "determined" by the impartial operation of unregulated "supply and demand." Public regulation is presumably minimal and indirect, designed primarily to keep the market free. Without undue elaboration at this point, this simply means that individual consumers "come to the market" willing to buy at certain prices for certain qualities, whereas separate and discrete producers are willing to sell goods of a certain quality at a certain price. . . .

The free market of industrial capitalism involves (a) free competition and impersonal judgment of efficiency; (b) freedom of contract and equality of opportunity; (c) commercialization and transferability of all property, including rational capital accounting, monetary exchange and paper symbols of ownership, and fluidity of capital; finally, (d) the whole presupposes certainty and predictability in the operation of the law. . . .


Science and Technology

An outstanding characteristic of modern industry is its widespread use of exact knowledge. Science and industrial production are separate yet related aspects of our civilization. . . .

Technology, simply defined, is the application of scientific principles for the achievement of particular concrete ends, taken as given. These

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