[OPE-L:7235] [OPE-L:760] Re: TSS and the Okishio Theorem

John R. Ernst (ernst@PIPELINE.COM)
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 12:58:53


To further support the idea of capital-saving technical change
in Marx, let's look at Rakesh's citation in OPE-L 703.

Capital 3 (Vintage pp 374)

" The application of machinery reduces the price of the commodities
produced with that machinery owing to various factors,which can always be
reduced to the decline in [direct?rnb] labor absorbed by each individual
commodity; but in addition to this there is the decline in the portion of
value that goes into the individual commodity as the depreciation element
of the machinery. The slower the machinery's depreciation, the more
commodities it is distributed over, the more living labour it replaces
before the day when its reproduction falls due. In both cases the quantity
and value of the fixed constant capital are increased as against the

That is, how could depreciation be decreasing as the fixed
capital to output ratio is increasing save for increases in
the lifetime of fixed capital? (Here, I think Rakesh's addition
is inadvertently misleading.) For Marx, both the direct and
indirect labor in a commodity decline as machinery is applied.

All of this points to the inevitability of saddling Marx with a falling
rate of profit that is little different from the classicals given
simultaneous valuation. The classicals felt that as accumulation proceeds
returns fall as less productive land is drawn into the production
process. Modern Marxism holds that it is not land but fixed
capital that gives rise to diminishing returns and the falling rate
of profit. Ugh.