Chapter 2. The Production of Concepts

The external character of labor for the worker appears in the fact that it is not his own, but someone else’s, that it does not belong to him, that in it he belongs, not to himself, but to another.

Karl Marx

Semantics and the Software Factory

The manufacturing process requires a system. The process of making a system for anything itself requires a system. This is a meta-model: a way of making models.

In 1844, German economist Karl Marx wrote about the problems of the division of labor in his Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. By dividing work into many jobs, each with only one distinct responsibility, the work within each field becomes repetitive, rote, and is drained of opportunity for creativity. Such is the fate of industrial workers—our forebears in computer hardware factories from which software has separated only in its physical space of production, but not entirely in our minds as developers and designers. And certainly not in the minds of corporate leaders.

In the built world, architecture as a field is concerned with the transformation of raw materials within a given site to create a concrete space, fit to a stated purpose. This space might be a resort, a concert hall, a cathedral, a theater, an office building, a bridge, a tunnel, or a park. The building architect starts with the ground, the site on which the building will be built. The site is clearly defined and preestablished in no uncertain terms by real estate ownership ...

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