[OPE-L:1317] Re: Cheaper Machines

Iwao Kitamura (ikita@st.rim.or.jp)
Tue, 5 Mar 1996 07:03:35 -0800

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>My point was that if we only consider "cheaper machines" and
>exclude better machines, the more expensive machines can
>still be used in production until they wear out physically. If
>we assume that their physical life is less than their economic
>life, "better machines" must be part of the picture.

Yes, I entirely agree with this.

>In your example below, it seems clear that the "your" capitalist
>only takes into account physical depreciation as he sets up his
>depreciation schedule. He then has to allow for the "moral
>depreciation" due to the cheaper machine. I am suggesting
>that in setting up his depreciation schedule the capitalist can
>only know the "probable life" of the machine and that the life
>anticipated is the economic or social life. Note that Marx includes
>an allowance for "moral depreciation" in computing the value of
>the output. Thus, unlike your capitalist, Marx's would not have
>anticipated the life of the machine to be 10 years but something
>less since the economic life is less than the physical life.

And the problem is that this anticipation of capitalists
on economic lifetime of machines would not always be correct, so it
would be possible that value would appear when moral depreciation would
have been over-estimated.
Here's my another example.
At the begining of the 1st year: a machine costs $100 and capitalists
anticipation of the machine's economic lifetime is 2 years.
In the 1st year, $50 thus transfers to the products.
At the begining of the 2nd year: the cost of the same machine declines
to $80 and capitalists anticipation of its economic lifetime increases
to 4 years. The productivity to produce the machine has not increased
enough as anticipated. What happens? The machine should be re-valuated
to $60 from its book value $50. Where does this $10 difference come from?
Is this value not created by human labor? No.
I'm not quite sure but my temporal answer is that this $10 comes from
the previous period. I think this case only illustrates a case of value
transfer from period to period. Am I wrong?

in OPE-L solidarity,

Iwao Kitamura
E-mail: ikita@st.rim.or.jp