[OPE] Depreciation

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Sun Feb 10 2008 - 18:39:40 EST

Actually, when Marx discusses the depreciation of fixed capital in Cap. Vol. 2, he refers to "averages" both for physical and moral depreciation, noting that capitalists could gain or lose profit depending on how the actual depreciation of their own fixed assets compared with the social averages. That already should make it clear that the "value" of depreciation has nothing to do with the specific labour-content of a particular depreciating asset, but involves a socially established norm.

Depending on how the national accounts for net output are constructed, the discrepancy between actual depreciation charges and economic depreciation ("consumption of fixed capital") may actually affect the estimated quantity of pre-tax profit or operating surplus, the residual item in the product account. Often actual depreciation exceeds economic depreciation, for example because governments provide depreciation "incentives" in tax assessment to stimulate investment or, more simply, because the books are cooked. Whether this discrepancy is included or excluded from net output may depend on whether its components are separately compiled before they are added together, or whether the net output value is established before the residual item of profit is derived from it by deducting labour costs, indirect taxes, depreciation etc.


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