Volltext: Accumulation and Technology

4 
The Motive of Accumulation 
Marx's chapter on accumulation deals with the following 
topics: 1. The relation between accumulation and distribution 
2. The role of technical progress which contributes 
decisively to the supply of labour necessary for 
continued accumulation; in the event,however, technical 
progress may produce more labour than is necessary for 
accumulation. 3. Two features which are connected with 
the technical progress and accumulation: The increase in 
capital intensity of production and the concentration of 
capital. 
To start with I shall comment on a question which will be 
raised in everybody's mind: Jf accumulation is the driving 
force in capitalism, what is it that in its turn explains 
accumulation? Reading Marx you often get the impression 
that it is a drive characteristic of capitalism which needs 
no further explanation ( " Accumulate, accumulate, that is 
Moses and all the prophets" ). While this recalls Max Weber 
one thinks at the same time also of the "animal spirits" 
of Keynes. 
At times you get hints that competition and technical progress 
in combination force the individual capitalist to invest 
so as to improve his methods of production ("Here it takes 
all the running you can do to remain in the same spot" - 
Lewis Carrol - the red queen ). Indeed, this does apply 
to some extent to the technological industries on a world scale. 
It presupposes however that accumulation and technical progress 
are already there, though it may partly explain how they 
are kept going. 
We should like, however, to have a quantitative explanation of 
the trend value of accumulation ( only this, hot the cyclical
	        
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