On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures

Overview

On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures is a treatise on labor economics and how to reduce the cost of workers by dividing tasks based on skill level. In his Preface, Babbage claimed that the work was a direct "consequence" of his supervising the creation of "the Calculating-Engine." To conduct research for the machine, he visited workshops and factories throughout England and Europe and noted their inefficiencies. As a result, he wrote the tract on labor and described what is known as the Babbage ...
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On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures

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Overview

On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures is a treatise on labor economics and how to reduce the cost of workers by dividing tasks based on skill level. In his Preface, Babbage claimed that the work was a direct "consequence" of his supervising the creation of "the Calculating-Engine." To conduct research for the machine, he visited workshops and factories throughout England and Europe and noted their inefficiencies. As a result, he wrote the tract on labor and described what is known as the Babbage Principle-that by only assigning tasks designed for their skill level and pay grade, workers could be more efficient and costs cut. Though criticized by theorists like Karl Marx, the principle is often used today in management styles and workplaces.

CHARLES BABBAGE (1791-1871) was a British engineer, inventor, mathematician, and philosopher. He is considered the "father of the computer" for pioneering the concept of a programmable computer and his invention of the first mechanical computer, which he called the "difference engine." Babbage made noteworthy contributions to cryptography, engineering, economics, and the modern postal system in England.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Introduction; 1. Sources of the advantages arriving from machinery and manufactures; 2. Accumulating power; 3. Regulating power; 4. Increase and diminution of velocity; 5. Extending time of action of forces; 6. Saving time in natural operations; 7. Exerting forces too great for human power; 8. Registering operations; 9. Economy of materials employed; 10. Of the identity of the work when it is of the same kind; 11. Of copying; 12. On the method of observing manufactories; 13. On the difference between making and manufacturing; 14. On the influence of verification upon price; 15. On the influence of durability on price; 16. On price, as measured by money; 17. Of raw materials; 18. Of the division of labour; 19. On the division of mental labour; 20. On the separate cost of each process in a manufacture; 21. On the causes and consequences of large factories; 22. On the position of great factories; 23. On over-manufacturing; 24. Inquiries previous to commencing any manufactory; 25. On contriving machinery; 26. Proper circumstances for the application of machinery; 27. On the duration of machinery; 28. On combination amongst masters or workmen against each other; 29. On combinations of masters against the public; 30. On the effect of taxes; 31. On the exportation of machinery; 32. On the future prospects of manufactures, as connected with science.

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