[OPE-L:3433] Re: TSS and Tech Change

John Ernst (ernst@usa.pipeline.com)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 15:14:56 -0700 (PDT)

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Below I have reproduced two passages from
CAPITAL, which I think back up my position that,
for Marx, the replacement of machines by machines
is a capital augmenting process. I do not think
that they refute any idea of an increasing constant
capital to output ratio on the macro level, but
rather point out that there is difficulty in
imputing to Marx the idea that technical change is
simply labor augmenting.

I'm not sure if these are the passages we were
speaking of yesterday but, from memory, these are
the ones I think I cited.


"While the circulating part of the constant capital,
such as raw materials, etc., continually increases
its mass in proportion to the productivity of labour,
this is not the case with fixed capital, such as
buildings, machinery, and lighting and heating facilities,
etc. Although in absolute terms a machine becomes dearer
with the growth of its bodily mass, it becomes relatively
cheaper. If five labourers produce ten times as much of
a commodity as before, this does not increase the outlay
for fixed capital ten-fold; although the value of this
part of constant capital increases with the development
of the productiveness, it does not by any means increase
in the same proportion." (Vol. III, Ch. 15,Sec 4, Para 2)
(p 260 in Int. Edition)

"Further, the quantity and value of the employed machinery
grows with the development of labour productivity but not
in the same proportion as this productivity, i.e., not in
the same proportion in which this machinery increases out-
put. In those branches of industry, therefore, which do
consume raw materials, i.e., in which the subject of labour
is itself a product of previous labour, the growing
productivity of labour is expressed precisely in the
proportion in which a larger quantity of raw material absorbs
a definite quantity of labour, hence in the increasing
amount of raw materials converted in, say, one hour into
products, or processed into commodities. The value of raw
material, therefore, forms an ever-growing component of
the value of the commodity-product in proportion to the
development of the productivity of labour, not only
because it passes wholly into this latter value, but also
because in every aliquot part of the aggregate product the
portion representing depreciation of machinery and the portion
formed by the newly added labour--both continually decrease."

(Paragraph 9 of the Chapter VI, Vol. III, pp 108-09 of the
Int. Edition.)