[OPE-L:3990] Depreciation Query

john erns (ernst@pipeline.com)
Wed, 15 Jan 1997 13:08:45 -0800 (PST)

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Does anyone know how Engels responded to
Marx's query, reproduced below?

Can anyone point out where we can find the
prior correspondence to which Marx refers?



Marx to Engels, September 11, 1867
The concluding part of the second book (Process
of Circulation), the part I am now writing,
contains a point concerning which I must once more
apply to you for help, as I did many years ago.

Fixed capital has to be replaced in kind only after,
say, 10 years. In the meantime its value returns
partially and gradually as the commodities produced by
it are sold. This progressive return of the fixed
capital is needed for its replacement (leaving repairs
and the like out of consideration) only when its material
form, for instance that of a machine has ceased to exist.
In the meantime however the capitalist has these successive
returns on hand.

Many years ago I wrote to you that is seemed to me that in
this way an accumulation fund is formed, since the capitalist
naturally employs the returned money in the interval elapsing
before replacing the fixed capital with it. In one letter
you argued somewhat superficially against this. Later I found
that McCulloch describes this sinking fund as an accumulation
fund. Convinced that no idea of McCulloch's could ever be right
I dropped the matter. The apologetic purpose he pursued in
this connection has already been refuted by the Malthusians, but
they too admit the fact.

Now, you as a manufacturer must know what you do with returns you
receive for the fixed capital before it has to be replaced in kind.
And you must give me an answer on this point (without theory, purely
as a matter of practice).