Structure Of Modern Times By Charlie Chaplin

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Hierarchy in a modern capitalist society can be seen in the form of corporations through the capitalist division of labor. In the essay “What do bosses do? The origins and functions of hierarchy in capitalist production”, Stephen A. Marglin argues that Adam Smith’s capital division of labor was not due to technological efficiency, but rather due to economic superiority created through hierarchy and specialization in the market. Marglin points out the reasons why hierarchy exists, which is to maximize bosses’ profits, how hierarchical control can result in capitalist instability through mass production, and the impacts of hierarchy on the wellbeing of factory workers, as best exemplified in the film “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin.…show more content…
In the first act of “Modern Times”, the manager commanding the line of workers like Chaplin’s character, Little Tramp, to speed up their production by five times exemplifies how bosses control the production out of their best economic interests. Even in the sharecropping system, for example, landowners have the power to choose the type of crops to produce whereas tenants do not. The existence of hierarchy demonstrates the integration role of the bosses in combining separate operations of production process. The specialization and separation of worker task inquires an overlook of the business by a manager. Since each individual worker is assigned and stuck to only a small task of the production process, the bosses undertake the role of providing discipline and supervision to connect those separate tasks together to minimize the costs of production. Consequently, under the longwall system with mechanized separate tasks, the supervision of bosses is responsible for the success of capitalism, not technological superiority. The image of the feeding machine in “Modern Times” provides a critical example of how advanced machines might not help facilitate the accomplishments of the factory. Thus, some researchers have attributed the prosperity of a corporation to the development and management of work organization by the bosses, whom are the exploiters of the capitalist system.
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