[OPE-L:8332] Re: Electronics and Value

From: OPE-L Administrator (ope-admin@ricardo.ecn.wfu.edu)
Date: Tue Jan 14 2003 - 03:25:54 EST

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jim Davis" <jdav@gocatgo.com>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2003 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: Electronics and Value (for OPE-L list)

[Please consider posting this to the OPE-L list, in response to 8304.
Thanks, jd]

In response to clyder@gn.apc.org [8304]:

> Feedback systems long predate electronics however, consider the case
> of Watt's governor.

I would guess that all of the concepts of the modern-day computer
pre-date the computer (just as all of the components of the industrial
system of Marx's day derived from manufacture). But the components
themselves didn't represent a new system of production (for Marx's day)
until the introduction of the steam engine; or for today, electronic or
biologic (or some combination) components that are small, light, cheap,
self-activating, self-reproducing, decision-making etc. etc. that can
take over the command and control of the production process.

While it may have been possible to put together a system of automatic
machinery with mechanical feedback systems that could feed into
gear-driven decision-making abilities and communicate with other
machinery using hydraulic tubes (or make a"difference engine" as
described in the book of the same name), such a system just wouldn't
have been practical on wide-scale basis.

In [8278] clyder@gn.apc.org, as I understand it, was saying that
industrial production of the 1930s was qualitatively the same as today.
My point about the River Rouge plant was that there are substantial
differences. Jerry's comments about modern-day factories I think better
describe those changes than the Rouge example.

> Are there more industrial workers in the world today than there were
> in 1930?
>  Clearly there are more.

The introduction of a new quality into a process, in this case, the
introduction of labor-replacing technology, has many contradictory,
even paradoxical effects. (Borrowing from George Caffentzis here,) Marx
talked about these in the discussion of counteracting influences on the
tendency of the rate of profit to fall. (Again, Jerry lists some of
these in [8309]) One of the paradoxes is that labor-replacing
technology can mean that more people work harder. That's what I tried
to look at in the "End of Value" paper that was mentioned in the
starting post for this thread. I think the best indicator of the march
of labor-replacing technology I think is not in employment figures, but
in the polarization of wealth.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jan 15 2003 - 00:00:01 EST