Marx's notebooks on the history of technology

Marx's notebooks on the history of technology

Karl Marx wrote a number of notebooks on the history of technology. Their whereabouts were not known but in the past they were read and discussed by Marxist writers. Dr Amy Wendling's recent study "Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation" may have had access to them.

György Lukács studied these notebooks while they existed in the archives in Moscow, and appears to refer to them in a 1925 article later published in English translation in the New Left Review, no. 39, September/October 1966 criticizing what he saw as Bukharin's undue technicism.

Engels lists Marx's collection of material on technology as one of Marx's "specialisms" in correspondence outlining their mutual division of intellectual labour.[1]

Marx directly refers to the notebooks in his letter to Engels of January 28, 1863 where he says

… I have re-read my notebooks (extracts) on technology, and am attending a practical (only experimental) course for workers on the same by Professor Willis (in Jermyn Street, the Institute for Geology, where Huxley also gave his lectures)… While re-reading the technological-historical excerpts, I came to the conclusion that , apart from the invention of gun-powder, the compass and printing - these necessary pre-requisites for bourgeois development - from the 16th to the mid-18th centuries, i.e. the period of the development of manufacture from craftsmanship until really large-scale industry, the two material foundations on which were based the preparations for mechanised industry within manufacturing were the clock and the mill … [2]

Across his writing Marx makes frequent reference to his interest in technological developments, and these mentions are complemented by generic statements such as the need for a critical history of technology in the major footnote at the beginning of the chapter on "Machinery and Large Scale Industry" in Capital, Volume I.[3]

Nathan Rosenberg wrote an essay on "Marx as a student of technology" published in his Inside the Black Box. see also Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation by Amy E. Wendling 2009


  1. ^ Marx & Engels, Letters on 'Capital 1983, New Park
  2. ^ Marx & Engels, Letters on 'Capital 1983, New Park. p.82-84
  3. ^ Marx Karl Capital, 1976, London: Penguin p.493-4

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • technology, history of — Introduction       the development over time of systematic techniques for making and doing things. The term technology, a combination of the Greek technē, “art, craft,” with logos, “word, speech,” meant in Greece a discourse on the arts, both… …   Universalium

  • Karl Marx — Marx redirects here. For other uses, see Marx (disambiguation). Karl Heinrich Marx Marx in 1875 Full name Karl Heinrich Marx Born 5 May 1818 Trier, Kingdom of Prussia …   Wikipedia

  • literature — /lit euhr euh cheuhr, choor , li treuh /, n. 1. writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays. 2.… …   Universalium

  • education — /ej oo kay sheuhn/, n. 1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. 2. the act or process of… …   Universalium

  • Marxism (Philosophies of) — Philosophies of Marxism Lenin, Lukács, Gramsci, Althusser Michael Kelly INTRODUCTION Marxist philosophy can be seen as a struggle with Hegel or a struggle with capitalism, that is, as an intellectual or a political movement. Neither of these… …   History of philosophy

  • Character mask — Part of a series on Marxism …   Wikipedia

  • Mircea Eliade — Eliade redirects here. For other persons of the same name, see Eliade (surname). Mircea Eliade Born March 13, 1907(1907 03 13) Bucharest, Romania Died April 22, 1986( …   Wikipedia

  • Marxism — Part of a series on Marxism …   Wikipedia

  • Creative destruction — Crowd at New York s American Union Bank during a bank run early in the Great Depression. Marx argued that the devaluation of wealth during capitalism s periodic economic crises was an inevitable outcome of the processes of wealth creation.… …   Wikipedia

  • Mediation (Marxist theory and media studies) — Karl Marx Born May 5, 1818(1818 05 05) Trier, Prussia Died March 14, 1883(1883 03 14) (aged  …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.