From the smart factory to the self-organisation of capital: "Industrie 4.0" as the cybernetisation of production

Schaupp, Simon and Diab, Ramon. (2020) From the smart factory to the self-organisation of capital: "Industrie 4.0" as the cybernetisation of production. Ephemera: theory and politics in organization, 20 (4). pp. 19-41.

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Governments and private sectors have collaborated on national initiatives that will introduce 'cyberphysical systems' and the 'industrial internet of things' to the sphere of production in a new wave of capitalist development currently referred to in Germany as 'Industrie 4.0'. We refer to the historical and technical development of the means of control within the capitalist mode of production that began with scientific management, management cybernetics, digital process control, and now Industrie 4.0, as the cybernetisation of production. This article analyses the German context of 'Industrie 4.0' as a new regime of production. Data drawn from a series of semi-structured interviews with managers and engineers of 'Industrie 4.0' companies reveal current developments and future visions for the digital transformation of German industry. Based on these data and some theoretical considerations, we argue that 'Industrie 4.0' is designed to automate the self-organisation of industrial capital in 'smart factories'. This will shift the personal control of middle management toward the more direct and immediate cybernetic control of market forces over the labour process. The article concludes that as direct labour and managerial labour is replicated, extended and/or entirely replaced with autonomous machines, the cybernetisation of production is advancing capital's real subsumption of the labour process toward capital's autonomisation from labour which is creating new autonomous forms of production.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Soziologie > Sozialstrukturanalyse (Nachtwey)
UniBasel Contributors:Schaupp, Simon
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:University of Leicester
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:26 May 2021 08:06
Deposited On:26 May 2021 08:06

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