[OPE-L:7237] [OPE-L:762] Re: On capital saving technologies

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 16:00:49 -0500 (EST)

Michael P wrote in [OPE-L:761]:

> In the recent debate about new capital, I think that it is important to
> differentiate between capital used to produce consumer goods and
> capital use to produce capital goods.

Yet it is also important to note that the same fixed capital can be used
to produce Dept I and Dept II commodities. E.g. industrial robots can be
used to produce means of consumption (like automobiles) or means of
production (like industrial robots). The flexibility of this type of fixed
capital allows it to re-programmed relatively easily (in contrast to "hard
automation" which was designed and engineered for only 1 purpose).
Moreover, this type of means of production can be relocated to another
plant or branch of production relatively easily (which causes it to
depreciate less quickly and enhances its re-sale price).

btw, industrial robots were introduced in consumer goods industries before
they were applied to produce means of production (as in, e.g., a flexible
manufacturing system that produces other robots).

In solidarity, Jerry