[OPE-L:649] Re: Forms of Tech Change [Digression]

Michael Perelman (michael@ecst.csuchico.edu)
Mon, 4 Dec 1995 16:11:33 -0800

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Jerry wrote:>
> Michael:
> What kind of market structure are you assuming in regards to
> technological change? While price competition was dominant in the last
> century and the early part of this century, aren't most branches of
> production in advanced capitalist economies (as a result of the
> concentration and centralization of capital) now dominated by oligopolies
> where product differentiation (and consequently, advertising) _replaced_
> price competition as the *dominant* form of capitalist rivalry within a
> branch of production? What implications does this have for the forms and
> pace of technical change?

Michael responds:

I partially agree. Certainly in the 50's and 60's I would have accepted
your assertion without any reservation. Let us take the automobile
industry as an example. In the last few decades we saw an onset of
global competition, so that the number of effective auto providers

More recently, we are seeing fairly rapid re-consolidation.

The initial oligopolies initially formed to avoid the risk of rapid
moral depreciation, at least that is what the participants wrote. So long
as the oligopolies remain effective, the force of moral depreciation is

Since I brought up this subject in the context of Marx's theory, remember
that he was writing at the dawn of the period of rapid devalorization.
Remember his discussion of Babbage's discussion of patent net frames (I
confess that I am not sure exactly what they are.).
Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321
E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu