[OPE-L:840] Re: Moral Depreciation

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Tue, 23 Jan 1996 17:39:05 -0800

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Paul C. asks:

> Why do people think that 'moral depreciation' is an issue
> of importance?

Here are some possible answers to the above question:

1) The concept of "moral depreciation" is introduced, but not fully
developed, by Marx. How does this concept relate to the other aspects
of Marx's analysis?

2) If you believe that the subject matter of moral depreciation describes a
real process that occurs under conditions of capitalist production,
shouldn't we attempt to understand that process and identify its
relation to accumulation process?

3) John and Alan have suggested that this question has a bearing on the
valuation of elements of constant fixed capital. Do we agree?

4) John and Alan have suggested that this has a relation to the so-called
"transformation problem." Do we agree?

5) Can this concept, as Alan suggested, be used to partially explain
international prices and distribution of surplus value?

6) How does moral depreciation affect the turnover of constant fixed
capital and the mechanisms and periodicity of capitalist crises?

7) How does this subject, discussed for the first time in terms of the
order of enquiry in Capital in relation to the "release and tying-up of
capital", relate to our understanding of capitalist competition as a
dynamic process?

8) Related to the above, how does one go about better understanding this
question in relation to the subject matter of Capital? Does it suggest,
as Marx himself suggested, that it needs to be addressed in a separate
book on competition? Since we don't *know* what Marx considered the
proper subject and order of enquiry for such a possible continuation, how
would we (if we so wished) go about such a task?

Are those enough possible answers to your question?

In OPE-L Solidarity,