“A more serious threat to the egalitarian ideals of the society would come from an aristocracy which was purely industrial in nature. The progress of mass production and division of labour ha profound social effects. Tocqueville made a distinction here between the effects of democracy as such and the effects of large scale industrialisation. As egalitarian attitudes took root and hereditary disabilities disappeared, so the relation between master and servant, employer and workman, lost meaning in terms of social superiority and inferiority, and became socially neutral contracts between hirers and sellers of labour that created few differences of character or outlook. This was not true, however, within large scale industry. Industrial workmen condemned to a single, mechanical task might become more efficient at that task, but they would be drained of all other capacities, would become helots in the industrial machine. ‘What’, he asked in echo of Adam Smith’s example, ‘can be expected of a man who has pent twenty years of his life making pin-heads?’. While the working population was being thus intellectually debased; the owning and managerial classes were being faced with more difficult and exacting, and consequently more intellectually stimulating problems. Side by side, there grew two classes whose functions and capacities made of them almost two different species (28). At the same time, workers in large scale in industry were in a bad position to defend their economic standards against their employers. Here again the trend within mass industry was opposite to that in democratic society generally. In small industries and agriculture (which in 1840 Tocqueville could say formed the bulk of all national economies), workmen were able to push up the level of wages. Employers were numerous, they were in fierce competition and consequently they found it difficult to act in concert against their employers, while workmen were very little if at all behind employers in intelligence and organisational ability and had often resources to tide them over a strike. With each rise in wages, workmen became more independent, gained more economic power and were therefore in a better position to force further increases; ‘the gradual and progressive raising of wages’, he concluded, ‘is one of the general laws which govern democratic societies’. In large scale industry, the situation differed. Entrepreneurs here were few in number, capable therefore of creating effective combinations against labour, and had sufficient resources behind them to counter any strike threat. Labour, on the other hand, was usually plentiful and difficult to organise for industrial action. In boom periods, large scale industry could attract workpeople by offering much higher wages than agriculture or small industry. Once having been fixed in a particular industrial skill, it was difficult for these workers to move out of the industry again. So, in times of slump, employers could use the pool of unemployed as an instrument to force down the level of wages. If outside large scale industry there was a general upward trend of wages, within it there was a constant tendency towards the impoverishment of workers (29). Moreover, although the whole society was affected by the peculiar instability of capitalist industry, labour was the first to be hit (30). In this way, democratic society produced its own antithesis. Its demand for cheap goods produced an industrial system which tended to divide men into two rigid classes, an aristocracy strong in economic power and organisational skill and a working class which was increasingly debased, impoverished and defenceless against the fluctuations of the economy. There was much in this analysis that anticipated Marx’s views on the future of the capitalist system, without sharing Marx’s metaphysical and historical framework. (…) If Tocqueville’s views on the future and his methods of analysis were nearer to Marx than to the orthodox economists of his time, he shared with Marx also a dislike for the new industrial aristocracy”  [Jack Lively, The Social and Political Thought of Alexis De Tocqueville, Oxford, 1965] [(28) Oeuvres (M) i (ii), 164-6, 185-93. Cf Adam Smith: ‘The Wealth of Nations Book’, ch. I.; (29) Oeuvres (M) i (ii), 197-9; (30) Oeuvres (M), (ii), 163. Oeuvres (B) IX, 59]