[OPE-L:923] Re: evaulation of inputs and moral depreciation

Paul Cockshott (wpc@clyder.gn.apc.org)
Thu, 1 Feb 1996 16:05:51 -0800

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Mike L
I think, as suggested in my previous note, that Paul is right to
us back to the question of divisions of total social labour. However, I
think that the effect of innovations in the production of means of
production (which presumably are the basis for moral depreciation and
thatrapid obsolescence) is the *opposite*--- that it involves a reduction
in the
portion of the social working day devoted to production of means of
production, all other things equal.
I have not checked this with calculus but my feeling is that
it is more complicated. I think mike is right on the first order
effect. A cheapening of the means of production, would other
things being equal reduce necessary labour time. But the moral
depreciation correlates to an accelerated rate of cheapening,
which results in capital resources being written off more
quickly. This implies that the time for which they are used
falls, and that, since they must be replaced sooner, more
workers must be employed in the production of means of production
to achieve this. This production of means of production
constitutes in the new accelerated frame of reference
part of the necessary working day.

Further, it is possible for moral depreciation to be associated
in practice with an increase in the value of the means of
production necessary to stay in production. This is certainly
the case with semiconductors. New generations of chip fab lines
depreciate the old ones before they are worn out, and are at
the same time much more expensive than the old ones.