[OPE-L:1636] s/v and depreciation of fixed capital

Subject: [OPE-L:1636] s/v and depreciation of fixed capital
From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Thu Nov 04 1999 - 08:44:27 EST

A short comment on John's [OPE-L:1632]:

> (2) As the rate of surplus value increases, the economic life time
> of fixed capital would tend to increase.

This would only be the case if the quality of the constant fixed capital
was homogeneous. If we stipulate instead that there is more than one
quality fixed capital, then there is therefore a choice of technique for
the capitalists in the affected branches of production. Thus, *even if*
the rate of surplus value increased it wouldn't necessarily increase the
economic lifetime of the existing stock of fixed capital if the new
technique rendered the older means of production obsolete at a greater
rate than the increase in the rate of surplus value. Further, it seems to
me, that when we consider the age stratification of constant fixed
capital, we can't make the implicit heroic assumption that the quality of
different vintages of means of production remains constant. Thus, we can't
determine the effect of an increase in surplus value on the economic
lifetime of fixed capital unless we consider the stratification *by
quality* of the fixed capital and how this process of moral depreciation
affects the timing of new investment in different types and vintages of
means of production.

In solidarity, Jerry

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