[OPE-L:4005] Depreciation

john erns (ernst@pipeline.com)
Thu, 16 Jan 1997 16:47:45 -0800 (PST)

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Michael wrote:

John says that Marx says that capitalists base their calculations on
expected lifetimes of capital. Elsewhere Marx says that few capitalists
ever recover their costs for large scale fixed capital investments.
Like Keynes, he seems to believe that an irrational greed leads them to
invest badly.

Others then come in, buy the depreciated capital, and reap the rewards.

John comments:
I know you're right on this. Mandel refers to it (I think in

Michael also wrote:

Andrew wrote that with proper foreknowledge, c can be calculated. He
is, of course, right. But rational foreknowledge is not available.
Capital experiences sudden revaluations, both positive and negative.

Thus one can use an accounting *convention* to measure the transfer of
value, but these conventions are very inexact. In this sense, I say
that we cannot measure the c.

John comments:
Granted the "conventions are very inexact", but I think it is worth
exploring how their use may influence those "exact" rate of profit
calculations. Too often, models assume away fixed capital or
include it only when there is no technical change or assume that
fixed capital does not depreciate.


It would seem we need a "mini" Lexicon of Marx's statements on the matter of
depreciation -- moral and otherwise.