[OPE-L:4125] Re: use-value and value

Michael Perelman (michael@ecst.csuchico.edu)
Fri, 31 Jan 1997 15:32:23 -0800 (PST)

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Steve Keen wrote:

> However if the machine not only physically depreciates but also suffers from
> technological obsolescence, then *less than* the entire value used up in its
> production is transferred to the product, and the capitalist is in fact
> making a loss out of fixed capital. It sounds like capital is walking a
> tightrope just above extinction at the hands of technological change. If
> this rate gets too high, then it is possible that the loss from
> technological obsolescence could wipe out the profit from the exploitation
> of labor, leading to a loss overall.

Like Andrew, I agree that the tightrope image is true, not nonsense. In
my End of Economics, I show that U.S. economists of the late 19th c.
believed very strongly in this idea. I think of them as proto-marxists,
even though the came after Marx, because their work seemed to be a crude
version [at least part] of Marx's theory of crisis.

Technical change was indeed wiping out firms. These economists founded
the American Econ. Association to promote this idea in opposition to the
theory of neo-classical economics, although these same economsits were
among the most prominent neo-classical economists at the time. They
were neo-classical in their theory, but against it in their practice.
They wanted trusts, cartels and monopolies.

Schumpeter copied their ideas [and Marx's] and presented them as his

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 916-898-5321 E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu