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Capitalism Takes CommandThe Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America$
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Michael Zakim and Gary J. Kornblith

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226451091

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226977997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

Producing Capitalism

Producing Capitalism

The Clerk at Work

(p.223) 9 Producing Capitalism
Capitalism Takes Command

Michael Zakim

University of Chicago Press

Anxious to introduce regularity and integrity to what was usually advertised as a free market, capitalists recruited a large new class of clerks who would discipline the growing volume of exchange with ledgers, inventory controls, credit reports, regular communications, and the rising circulation of information across ever-expanding networks of time and space. These clerks labored on the production of the market, capitalism’s most important creation. Their paperwork produced abstract knowledge that was more essential to industrial production than the material excesses of crops and goods. These clerks were ambitious employees scribbling hard at their desks in the office and hoping to make partner someday.

Keywords:   free market, capitalism, clerks, abstract knowledge, industrial production, office

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