[OPE-L:7991] Re: relation of VCC to OCC

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Tue Nov 12 2002 - 08:53:21 EST

Re Michael P's [7983]:

> Marx thought that capital goods -- factories -- were produced by
handicraft labor,  while consumer goods -- textiles -- were produced
with advanced technology.  He  thought that eventually technical change
would become more common in the  production of capital goods.
Michael Lebowitz pointed me to the appropriate  references.

a) what are the references?

b) I don't really understand how the above relates to our understanding of
    the TCC, VCC, and OCC.  Could you briefly make the connection?

c) Irrespective of what Marx wrote, I think that the above makes sense from
a historical perspective for the following reason: that portion of MP which
become elements of fixed capital have often historically been produced on
a custom basis or in small lots.  This is because the material form that is
required for machinery by firms often varies from one firm to another and
has to be custom built. In contrast, means of consumption are generally
produced by individual firms at  a greater scale and therefore the labor
process allows for  'more advanced technology' to be used in the production
of these commodities.

However, two caveats:

i) as 'modern industry' has progressed it has become more possible to
produce  fixed capital which has greater application in different firms
and branches of production.  Especially noteworthy is the advent of
'soft automation', like industrial robotics, which has in many cases
replaced older 'hard automation'. So now machinery is being produced
using more advanced technology, with more 'fixed capital intensive
processes' than was the case at any prior point  in history. Indeed,
flexible manufacturing systems (the so-called 'factory of the future')
have been applied more to the production of  elements of fixed
capital than in the production of consumer goods.  The reason for
this is related:  FMS is typically most efficient in small batch
manufacturing processes.   Thus, one of the first FMS applications
was for the production of industrial robotics.

ii) in the case of luxury goods, there is still a significant degree of
small-scale handicraft production.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Nov 13 2002 - 00:00:00 EST