[OPE-L:4021] Re: More Depreciation Questions

Chai-on Lee (conlee@chonnam.chonnam.ac.kr)
Sat, 18 Jan 1997 03:26:32 -0800 (PST)

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Michael Perelman wrote:

>As I mentioned before, Marx goes both ways on this. I guess we can
>resolve this partially by saying that in mature industries, where
>technical change is slow, capitalists have some idea of the lifetime of
>capital. In dynamic industries, they don't.
>Keep in mind how Engels reprimanded Marx when he tried to treat the
>lifetime of capital as fixed. Like Chai-on said, he accused Marx of
>confusing the accounting lifetime with the economic lifetime.


Cost accounting is a very important field in the capitalist business. To
account the correct amount of production cost is one of the key elements for
the success of capitalist business. IMO, the capitalist's accounting must
approach to almost nearly true value. If not, they cannot survive the
capitalist competition. Even an amateur consumer like me can guess this
computer is worth about $2,000 (I am certain this guess is not deviated so
much from the true value) Competent capitalists must know economic durations
of their own fixed capitals, like competent doctors know the medical
duration of their skills and/or technologies. The MicroSoft company must
have known the economic duration of the Pentimum microprocessor (within the
possibility of 5 0.000000e+00rror) before they priced it on the market. If not, the
company would have collapsed sooner or later. I wonder what you can do about
the fixed capital with such a big uncertainty. Even if the estimation
deviates from true figures, there can be no problem in our value theory
provided that all other capitalists simultaneously had the same degree of
deviation in the guesstimation (since the law of value is enforced by
competition). The capitalist might lose or gain simultaneously,(which
implies a value-transfer between different sectors of production). From then
on, they can readjust the life of fixed capital.

With Regards,