Marxist theory presented division of labor and specialization of "manufactures" as an initial innovation in organization that transferred control of product from worker to capitalist. The subsequent technological innovation of "modern machine production" in the factory system and capitalization of production transferred control over the production process itself. Marx recognized the criticality of shifting the intensity of production from labor to capital, but saw technology primarily as a vehicle for institutionalizing the division of labor, rather than as a continuing, powerful force of innovation. 1
What Marx actually intended to include in the "manufactures" stage and what, in the "modern machine production" stage, remains a matter of debate. He dealt with two forms of manufacturing: heterogeneous, the mechanical assembly of components made elsewhere; and organic, a series of connected processes that converted raw materials into a final product. He applied Charles Babbage's ideal ratio between size of groups of workers and each special function 2 to his own ideal model of a single-function "manufactures" workshop controlled by a single capitalist. Marx also, however, referred in the same context to centralized factory-style manufacturing with "modern machines," and to traditional domestic "putting-out" production by artisans, 3 the former possibly a subsequent stage, and the former probably prior to his "manufactures" stage. His original intent about identifying stages of industrial development seems to have been obscured in his concerns about social and economic "contradictions" and inequities.