Re: [OPE] replacement cost and historical cost (again)

From: Ian Wright <>
Date: Mon Aug 31 2009 - 20:10:32 EDT

Hi Anders (and Dave)

Thanks for the help.

> I would say yes - that is controversial as a general rule. Because in a
> non-static linear (= Marxian, realistic) model the fact is that both A and B
> operates at the same time, efficient (mechanised, automated, very low wages)
> products compete with less efficient (less mechanised, less automated, high
> wage ...).

Let's define SNLT such that it takes into account any variance in the
productivity of labour in the same branch of production, i.e. it's
some kind of appropriately weighted average.

> So "replacement cost" is not a well-defined entity when you have multiple
> technologies and increasing returns to scale for most of them. There will
> always be technological rents (super profits) - and further innovation so
> that any equilibrium "long term" replacement costs will never be found.

Returns to scale are not important when we are talking about
"instantaneous" (i.e., current) replacement costs.

I agree that any equilibrium long-term prices will never be reached.

> But since there is significant scale effects - often the replacement costs
> will be the benchmark. But the labour that "was"  (less efficient or more
> efficient?) expended will of course try to get socially recognized and get
> its "fair" remuneration in the market. But but because capitalism
> revolutionizes the means of prod. - with very, very significant increasing
> returns to scale and old computer will not get a price covering the labour
> embedded - if it can be sold at all, i.e. be recognised as socially
> necessary labour at all - very often things have a very short life cycle
> from top product to garbage problem.


But does Marx anywhere say that the labor-embodied in a commodity is
invariant over technical change? I am hoping the answer is "no".

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Received on Mon Aug 31 20:16:12 2009

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