[OPE-L:1074] Moral depreciation again

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 12:44:30 -0800

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Duncan [1072]

> Maybe the first thing to do to sort these issues out is to locate the
> problem of moral depreciation theoretically. It seems to me it's an issue
> of how capitalists compete: if they anticipate more rapid obsolescence of
> capital in one sector than another, they will require a higher profit
> rate in the first sector to compensate for their anticipated capital
> losses. On the other hand, it doesn't seem to affect the new production
> of value by living labor.

I agree: the "pricing to cover moral depreciation" argument makes good
sense at a microeconomic level (comparison between sectors). But, to
repeat an earlier question to John, how is that argument supposed to
'scale up' to the economy as a whole? If capitalists are able to raise
prices _generally_ to cover themselves against moral depreciation, why
didn't they raise prices already, to make higher profits?