Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Capital III, Chapter 5 - Part 7

5) Economy Through Inventions 

These savings are only possible on the basis of large scale production, and are therefore attributable to co-operative, socialised labour. The use of machinery on a large scale, would make no sense unless production took place on a large scale, which would itself make no sense unless consumption occurs on a large scale, which can occur only under a system of large scale commodity production and consumption.


“Finally, it is only the experience of the combined labourer which discovers and reveals the where and how of saving, the simplest methods of applying the discoveries, and the ways to overcome the practical frictions arising from carrying out the theory — in its application to the production process — etc.” (p 104)

Ultimately, this will only be qualitatively developed as a result of the workers owning and controlling the means of production through the development of their co-operative enterprises.

“Incidentally, a distinction should be made between universal labour and co-operative labour. Both kinds play their role in the process of production, both flow one into the other, but both are also differentiated. Universal labour is all scientific labour, all discovery and all invention. This labour depends partly on the co-operation of the living, and partly on the utilisation of the labours of those who have gone before. Co-operative labour, on the other hand, is the direct co-operation of individuals.” (p 104)

The evidence for this provided by Marx can also be witnessed today. That is that the cost of producing prototypes of machines is always greater than the cost of the subsequent models, and similarly industries that arise on the back of some new invention are always more expensive in their operation than those that follow.

“This is so very true that the trail-blazers generally go bankrupt, and only those who later buy the buildings, machinery, etc., at a cheaper price, make money out of it. It is, therefore, generally the most worthless and miserable sort of money-capitalists who draw the greatest profit out of all new developments of the universal labour of the human spirit and their social application through combined labour.” (p 104)

Forward To Chapter 6

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