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Technologies of Critique$
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Willy Thayer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286744

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286744.001.0001

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(p.62) 23 Jenny
Technologies of Critique

Willy Thayer

, John Kraniauskas
Fordham University Press

This chapter looks at how Karl Marx figures the expanded circulation of capital as it spread around the planet in the becoming of the spinning Jenny, a complex machine-tool and the epitome of the Industrial Revolution. It highlights the power of the Jenny, such that Marx granted it the status of an event that reveals itself posthumously as the trace of the Industrial Revolution. The Jenny, a complex machine-tool, is a mechanism that executes functions that are analogous to those carried out by artisanal labor power that uses similar tools. The chapter also looks at how the Jenny broke out of the limits imposed by the working body-machine of fixed, endogenous, specialized terminals of the artisanal mode of production. As a mechanical body, the Jenny had already been dreamed of in the seventeenth century by René Descartes in his Treatise on Man, but which might best be referred to as a Treatise on Artificial Man.

Keywords:   Karl Marx, spinning Jenny, Industrial Revolution, machine-tool, Treatise on Artificial Man, René Descartes

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