Re: [OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Fri Nov 13 2009 - 08:28:18 EST

> 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.

Hi Paul C:

Even where there are more competitive markets, the "free market"
doesn't exist. One can only conceive of the possibility of a free
market in the absence of a state, yet where the capital-form has
existed historically so has the state-form. "Free market capitalism"
is not a historical construct, it is an ideological one.

Regarding the point that labor has to be expended preserving
the material carriers of knowledge, that's true but it can also be
vanishingly small. What, for instance, is the labor required to
preserve a Class 6 SHDC and the data which has been stored
in it? What's even more to the point is that although there is such
preservation labor required, it doesn't correspond to the value of
the knowledge.

In solidarity, Jerry
ope mailing list
Received on Fri Nov 13 08:32:11 2009

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