John R. Ernst
ernst at pipeline.com
Wed Nov 15 21:36:03 MST 1995
Having responded to your "various" in the section
revering to me, I read the section concerning the
The question of how rapidly the machine's value passes into
the product of labor depends on how quickly it wears out. The
long-term technical trend under capitalism is toward more
and more durable machines. Initially, many machines had
wooden components. These gave way to iron and steel. Now
machine construction incorporates a lot of exotic alloys
designed to maximize wear resistance and rapidity of motion.
Thus modern machinery will pass only small amounts of value
to the product per hour, or per unit of product, in contrast
to machines of the past.
You seem to be ignoring what Juan and I are talking --
"moral depreciation." How fast a machine wears out is
not solely a function of its physical characteristics.
As Marx points out, there is also the matter of "moral
depreciation." Machines, plant, and equipment are
considered scrap not when they wear out physically but
when they are no longer economically useful or, put
simply, profitable. In capitalism, the vast majority
of fixed capital is considered useless long before it
is physically useless.
To be sure, as machinery operates at higher and higher
speeds physical durability is an increasing requirement.
It's not clear to me that this prolongs its economic
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