RE: SV: [OPE] Studying unproductive labor: CEPR report

Date: Fri Feb 29 2008 - 08:36:17 EST

Hi Paul C and B:
The point remains, though, that based on historical experience
there is no way of knowing ex ante whether military funding 
which results in the development of new technologies is going
to eventually result in the transfer of more or less new technologies 
to firms than had the government spending been on R&D for 
non-military technological development.  This is in part because 
research on one purpose oftentimes leads to advances in 
technology in areas quite different than what was originally 
Paul B is, of course, quite right to argue that it is not a 
"capital vs. state" question: rather,  there is *coordination*  
between the state and capital that you can see quite clearly,
for instance, in the development of military technologies.
A question, though, which isn't talked about too much is the
following: the state conducts (either directly or indirectly) 
research which leads to the development of new technologies
- often initially in the military or "space" programs. This R&D, 
like other government spending, is paid for through taxation
(or borrowing, but that generally means additional taxation 
at a later time) - including working-class taxation.  As we 
have talked about, oftentimes the state-sponsored research
leads to advances in technological change by corporations. 
In a sense, then, these corporations receive these 
technologies *gratis* from the state.  Yet, they are *paid
for* in part by workers. This then is an example of a 
*privatization* of public technologies and knowledge. 
As Paul B would be quick to point out, this is not 
In solidarity, Jerry

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