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

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Tue Nov 04 2008 - 12:14:26 EST

In many cases though it would be sensible to close down the project using obsolete equipment,
whether it makes overall sense to do this would depend on planning feasibility. It may still
be necessary to keep some obsolete plants running because of the time it takes to replace
them with new ones.
If a project wanted to continue operating on the basis of changed technologies it could
put this proposal forward, and if the proposal showed a significant gain over the currently
best technique then it would stand a chance of success. However one has to take into account the
risk factor. One would need some indicator of whether a project was likely to succeed

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629

-----Original Message-----
From: on behalf of GERALD LEVY
Sent: Tue 11/4/2008 3:32 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: RE: [OPE] Invention, Inventors, and the Productivity of Labor

> If a socialist economy has reached the stage where it can be concerned > about such things, which is only after initial industrialisation,> then what should be done is fix labour budgets for units of production. > If a unit of production making good A is producing efficiently and > another also making A> inefficiently, then the labour budget of the efficient unit should be > increased to expand production there and the labour budget> of the less efficient one correspondingly reduced. In effect labour is > transfered to the more efficient unit. The collective in> the inefficient unit then has an incentive to improve their utilisation > of resources to keep their work teams together come the> next plan period.
Hi Paul C:
Assume that one 'unit of production' producing good A is more
efficient than another unit of production producing good A due
to more advanced technologies being utilized in the former. The
system that you outline above would reward the collective which
is more efficient and punish the one which is relatively inefficient
for no other reason than, perhaps, the former inherited a more
efficient array of plant and equipment at the time of the revolution.
It hardly seems fair to me to punish the workers in the second
collective for decisions made previously by their bourgeois
We must avoid a 'cult of efficiency', imo, on socialist ethical grounds.
This question has important political ramifications if it were,
especially, placed within the context of an international socialist
division of labor.
In solidarity, Jerry

ope mailing list

Received on Tue Nov 4 12:27:40 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Dec 03 2008 - 15:07:39 EST