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

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Mon Nov 03 2008 - 04:49:17 EST

2008/11/2 Alejandro Agafonow <>:
> For the design of social institutions the second kind of innovations, i.e.
> "applied innovations", are more important if we agree on the appropriateness
> of high rates of technical change for affluent societies.

No, I was not using the word 'innovations' like this, I was being more
general meaning any applicable new idea in the production process: a
new final product, production technique or organisation. It is one
thing to innovate, it is a different thing to materialize innovations.
Hence my distinction between "innovation" and "application".

(One example is Heron of Alexandria who invented the first steam
engine nearly two thousand years before the industrial revolution, why
was it not developed and eventually applied in production? Because
slave labour was cheap.)

It is certainly not a goal for socialists "to replicate rivalry
avoiding the harms of profits privately owned". However, a socialist
economy must continue the progressive aspect of capitalist
development; technical change that reduces the labour content of goods
and services and also stimulates the creation of new use-values that
can improve the lives of people.

That said, I have not fixed my mind to 'market socialism' or 'CPE'. At
present I'm trying to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both
ideas. On the one hand a socialist economy ought to have workers
controlling their workplaces to a significant degree; not only from a
democratic point of view but also because it opens up the search in
the innovation space. On the other hand, there ought to be a
centralization of information (in natura and in terms of labour) open
to all units of production in order to reduce waste of resources and
unemployment and for strategic planning of the development of society
according to democratically formulated demands.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Nov 3 04:51:16 2008

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