Re: I repent for asking

Michael Meeropol

Here I have to disagree --- even with the great Joan Robinson --- the machine makes no contribution to production without a worker to work it (even automation involves throwing switches) --- you said it yourself --- the machine increases the productivity of the workers --- (reducing the amount of "socially necessary labor time" to produce one unit --- that's the numerical definition of a productivity increase --- more production per unit of labor --- LESS LABOR per unit of output) --- the value added by machines is the depreciation calculated every year (not the depreciation utilized for tax purposes ) based on its costs.   Labor and capital "fight" over the division of the product (the capitalist buys the machine and then depreciates it till it's value is zero --- though often it's scrapped before it "uses up" all its value because of newer and better machines displacing it) --- the owners of the machines do not "fight" with themselves as to who gets the return ....


I have never understood how Marx could believe that machines just release the value of the labor stored up in their production when the whole point of the capitalist investing in machines is to increase the productivity of future labor. This change in the productivity of labor over time not only makes it impossible to come up with any fixed measure of average labor time, as Joan Robinson pointed out long ago, but also makes the value of machines like labor power: they add more to production than it takes to make and maintain them.

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