ANTONIO GRAMSCI AND FORDISM: The Prison Notebooks,1929-32.

On Taylor's "trained gorilla" phrase:

"Taylor is in fact expressing with brutal cynicism the purpose of American society -- developing in the worker to the highest degree automatic and mechanical attitudes, breaking up the old psycho-physical nexus of qualified professional work, which demands a certain active participation of intelligence, fantasy and initiative on the part of the worker, and reducing productive operations exclusively to the mechanical, physical aspect. But these things, in reality, are not original or novel: they represent simply the most recent phase of a long process which began with industrialism itself. This phase is more intense than preceding phases, and manifests itself in more brutal forms, but it is a phase which will itself be superseded by the creation of a psycho-physical nexus of a new type, both different from its predecessors and undoubtedly superior. A forced selection will ineluctably take place; a part of the old working class will be pitilessly eliminated from the world of labour, and perhaps from the world tout court" (p. 302-3)

On Ford's "puritanical" initiatives (and his Sociology spying department):

"It is certain that they are not concerned with the "humanity" or the "spirituality" of the worker, which are immediately smashed. This "humanity and spirituality" cannot be realised except in the world of production and work and in productive "creation"..."Puritanical" initiatives simply have the purpose of preserving, outside of work, a certain psycho-physical equilibrium which prevents the physiological collapse of the worker, exhausted by the new method of production...American industrialists are concerned to maintain the continuity of the physical and muscular-nervous efficiency of the worker. It is their interests to have a stable, skilled labour force, a permanently well-adjusted complex, because the human complex (the collective worker) of an enterprise is also a machine which cannot, without considerable loss, be taken to pieces too often and renewed with single new parts" (p. 303)

On high wages:

"Coercion has to be ingeniously combined with persuasion and consent. This effect can be higher renumeration such as to permit a particular living standard which can maintain and resore the strength that has been worn down by the new form of toil. But no sooner have the new methods of work and production been generalized and diffused, the new type of worker been created universally and the apparatus of material production been generalized and diffused than...high wages disappear" (p. 310)