Full text: Accumulation and Technology

movements are of interest in a long term perspective ). 
Marx did not explicitly deal with this question but I 
imagine he might have answered it as follows: 
The "extent and energy of accumulation” (p.680) is 
determined historically,i.e. the elements which act on it 
are too diverse to be represented in a simple scheme. 
In the short or medium run we may take the trend value 
very raoughly speaking as given, that is, as a continuation 
of the existing trend of the recent past, provided there 
are no new historical factors which cross the path 
of accumulation and make it go faster or slower. 
The Role of Technology in Accumulation and Distribution. 
The attainment of a certain level of technique was, 
historically speaking, the condition for a surplus to arise, 
and therefore for exploitation and accumulation to take place 
Agriculture and irrigation on fertile new land provided 
the surplus on which the first urban civilisations were built 
The further technical progress since then has no.t only 
provieded surplus but also the manpower required for 
accumulation at a rapid pace. Accumulation may at times 
be hindered by supply constraints especially shortage of 
manpower. The potential threat of supply constraints was 
crucial in early capitalism (the industrial revolution ) 
because the pace of its accumulation was greater than the 
increase in population. Marx showed how these constraints 
were overcome: By an additional supply of manpower 
released from agriculture; 
*At the same time these great achievements produced (or 
presupposed) not only slavery but also the first major 
environmental problems ( salination of the soil ).

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