The Idea of Automation in Marx's Theory of Technical Change

Variant title

L’idea di automazione nella teoria marxiana del mutamento tecnologico 


In his book, An Introduction to Marx, Jon Elster distinguishes Marx's ideas which are still alive from those which are dead. In his view, Marx's theory of technical change is definitely alive. While classical political economy shows little interest in technology, Marx's works—especially Capital—explore in full detail the impact of automation on labor and social life. This article is aimed at reconstructing the Marxian concept of automation and a cluster of concepts derived from it. In spite of the fact that today’s machinery is far more sophisticated than that observed by Marx in the 19th Century, the ideas of the German economist regarding automation still shed light on some industrial processes and their social consequences.




Italian (it)


Riccardo CampaJagiellonian University in Krakow


Orbis Idearum Volume 5, Issue 1 (2017), pp. 49-67
Regular Issue