Re Rakesh's : > Jerry, well labor productivity does indeed > seem to improve all the time. Well, I don't know about that. The further one extends the time horizon, the more it appears to be the case. In any event, the way labor productivity is conventionally measured (output/worker/hr) doesn't tell us *what* the increase in productivity is due to. Over the long-term, there is little doubt that technical change is the primary factor. Yet, if that is how labor productivity is measured in government publications and private research agencies, the increase in productivity could be due toshort-run increases in labor intensity, can't it? I.e. the conventional measure of labor productivity isn't limited to measuring the effects of technological change. > (snip, JL) Improvements in productivity also > result from better utilization of the means of > production and re-organization of > the work process--learning by doing, as the > jargon goes. That's true. It's a reason for looking at the diffusion of new technologies as a process that takes place over a period of years. And it is easy to see that within the diffusion curve the gains in productivity at the beginning of the curve are frequently less than the gains that occur as the diffusion of the technology continues (if this were not the case, then we wouldn't observe the familiar "S" shape of the curve). > Such > incremental improvements do not require the > scrapping of fixed > capital. It is true that more radical innovations > require the > replacement of fixed capital. Right, but improvements in capacity utilization don't represent technical change. "Learning by doing" (LBD) concerns gaining the benefits in terms of productivity over time related to a given technology. Thus, it is certainly part of the process, but I don't think that LBD can be considered _by itself_ to be technical change. > At > any rate, we need a distinction between > incremental and radical > innovation. I think we are better able to comprehend the importance of the timing of changes in the age stratification of constant fixed capital and moral depreciation on the business cycle -- and "long waves" -- if we look at this as a discontinuous process. There are other reasons for this as well. E.g. to link-up Marx's "period analysis" with a longer-term analysis. If we look at change as continuous, we have to reject "period analysis" and with it the separation in time of each of the following moments: M - C - M'. That is, such short-term discontinuities wouldn't be observable if we look at this as a continuous process. I also think that a rejection of this possibility, including the temporal separation between production and sale (and the possibility that the ideal value won't be actualized through sale) played a major role in terms of why Marx rejected Say's Law. > Well, I certainly read Marx as emphasizing the > continuous > depreciation of unit values as a result of > on-going > techno-organizational change. On-going, but not continuous. See previous paragraph I wrote. > At any rate, Jerry, I thank you for raising > questions of empirical relevance for as of > late we just seem to be adding up the purely > logical critiques of Marx. > Most recently, we have Marx's logical > contradiction in his analysis of double > divergence and the average commodity > (here Fred and Allin agree) to go with his > logical error of leaving the inputs > untransformed (on which most people agree > from Sweezy to Duncan to Ajit) to go with > his logical failure to think through the > implications of his use value-exchange value > dialectic (this is Steve) to go with his logical > leaps in chs 5 and 6 (as Gil has argued). > I think Bohm Bawerk would have been > proud of the concerns and performance of > OPE-L! I'm not sure what Bohm-Bawerk would have said about OPE-L. I think that the class that he represented would be genuinely afraid of us because of the *potential* that we represent. I.e. it is a very negative development from their perspective for Marxists from around the world to get together in the same (cyber) space and talk to each other seriously and critically about the issues related to political economy that concern them. As for the person whose favorite motto was "De omnibus dubitandum" (Doubt everything), I think he would be very pleased with our discussions -- even though I believe he would have made some highly critical remarks about what some of us have written (here I include myself). Indeed, I believe that if he were alive, he would be a member of OPE-L!!! (I would have used all of my powers of persuasion to get him to join!!!). To those on _other_ lists who profess to be his advocates and who exhibit the vice that he detested most (Servility), he would not be so kind. Indeed, I think that he would have been _appalled_ by any display of servility towards his own writings. In solidarity, Jerry PS: For those who believe, along with Althusser, that he was an anti-humanist, his favorite maxim -- "Nihil humanum a me alienum puto" (Nothing human is alien to me) -- must see very odd indeed. PPS: Many of those on this list also share his favorite occupation: "Bookworming"!
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