RE: [OPE] Invention, Inventors, and the Productivity of Labor

Date: Sun Nov 02 2008 - 08:03:21 EST

> I am basing my claim on the fact that most engineers are employed> as salaried workers.
Hi Paul C:
Engineers, in general, are neither inventors or architects. There is some
rivalry among the professions because of this.
> I would content that only a small proportion are members of the capitalist class -- people whose> income derives primarily from property not the sale of their labour.
That's certainly true, in general, for engineers.
> Consider two key innovations, the two prime movers of our age, diesel power and> gas turbines. Whilst the original inventors, Diesel and Whittle were not wage> labourers, the great development of these technologies since then, which> has made them the prime movers of our age has occured under capitalist relations> with the improvements being made by salaried engineers of firms like Rolls Royce,> Pratt and Whitney, MAN, Wartsila etc. The progressive improvement in fuel> efficiency of these two prime movers has been the precondition for the> modern productive transprot network or super tankers, giant containerships,> turbofan jets etc. All this has been done not by the owners of Rolls Royce or> MAN, but by the engineers these companies employ.
The fuel efficiency improvements which you refer to are instances of
'capital-goods-saving technical change' which, while they lower the constant
circulating capital requirements, do not increase the productivity of labor.
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Nov 2 08:05:55 2008

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