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The establishment of the industrial manufacturing process limited the perspective of the Enlightenment to the instrumental reason of industry. For an individual, this meant being assessed according to criteria related to one's usefulness in the manufacturing process. 'Reasonable' meant able to internalise certain standards, like punctuality, precision, stable performance and suppression of personal differences that were apt to interrupt the manufacturing process and to complicate the long-term predictability of behaviour.

Those who proved to be suitable for use in the factories represented the proletariat, whereas special institutions were created on a large scale for the others, depending on the cause of their uselessness: penal and work camps, nursing homes, care facilities, hospitals and insane asylums.

Christian compassion was not the motive here, but rather the intention to keep the 'unproductive fringe groups' of society under as much control as possible. For this reason, the cost factor always played a major role in dealing with these marginal groups and has also become a decisive motivation for creating concepts to solve this problem.

Photo: Room 'Industrialisation'

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