Full text: Accumulation and Technology

in relation to total manpower. It is however, obvious from 
a later part of the chapter ( Das Kapital p.679-680 ) 
where he speaks of a :general law of capitalist accumulation” 
that Marx did not confine the role of technical progress 
to this purely adaptive passive role but recognised that it 
could develop a lifeof its own and overshoot the mark 
by producing more unemployment than the nees of accumulation 
would dictate. In other words he envisaged an action of 
technical progress which would produce an increasing 
rate of unemployment. This, it may be noted, would not 
induce an increase in accumulation because the wages would 
be stuck at the subsistence level. 
This situation would arise when the growth of manpower 
and the growth of productivity taken together would exceed 
the historically given trend rate of growth of capital. 
( The growth of capital,for the economy as a whole, 
will be proportionateto the growth of employment, because 
capital-constant as well as variable - given a fixed life-time 
and disregarding echo waves will be continuously 
reproduced at a certain given pace. We may here 
conveniently think of capital being measured in terms 
of labour value ). 
There is then a continuous displacement of labour. 
The displacement effect, both before and since Marx, 
has given rise to heated discussion. It has been maintained 
that the displacement could not be more than a transitional 
phenomenon, because in principle an automatic compensation 
would be assured by a corresponding amount of new employment.

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