RE: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Fri Nov 13 2009 - 04:20:38 EST

Of course there will Paula, who will be interested in 100 years?
How many songs from the 1910s have you listened to.

Knowledge, we must remember, is not something imaterial,
it is not 'ideas'. It is always embodied in a material carrier : books,
records, or the far more perishable human brain. These
embodyments do wear out, just like other means of production.
Labour must be expended to maintain them, and in the absence
of this maintainance it is lost.

Think of the loss of knowlege after the fall of classical antiquitty, when
the society could no longer support public libraries.

What is different about knowledge is that it has high returns to scale,
but as Michael has pointed out, capitalism has difficulty with all
industries characterised by high returns to scale. It is forced to
abandon the idea of the free market and resort to monopoly in
these cases, whether it be railways or software publishing.
From: [] On Behalf Of Paula []
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2009 10:51 PM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

Paul C wrote:
> They may not be used up, but they may only be used a finite number of
> times, this would be a sufficient condition to assign a value to them.

How many times, starting in the seventies, have you heard those Abba songs,
and do you really think there'll ever be an end to them?


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Received on Fri Nov 13 04:24:48 2009

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