Full text: Accumulation and Technology

with "home production" or cottage industries, both at home 
and overseas. This would apply to early stages of the 
industrial revolution. 
But the Marxian argument can be detached completely from 
the wage mechanism: If the sabour scarcity is strong enough 
to be experienced directly, i.e. if it is difficult to find 
labour, then it will tend to enforce labour saving methods 
independently of any consideration of wage cost. No doubt 
it acted in this way in the period of full employment 
in the post-war decades. This period illustrates very well 
the Marxian story of a powerful accumulation breaking 
a path for itselfby opening new sources of supply of labour 
( agriculture, women, foreign workers ) and by forcing the 
path of productivity increase through new methods. 
The role of technical progress as just described is 
essential for the functioning of the Marxian law of 
accumulation. This law states that the rise in wages 
( and therefore the distribution of incomes) is 
constrained by the requirements(or necessities) of 
accumulation: " The .... law of c aicumuiaiion says in fact 
only that by its nature accumulation excludes any decrease 
in thedegree of exploitation or any rise in the price of 
labour such as could endanger seriously the steady 
reproduction of capital and its reproduction on a 
continuously expanding scale." ( p.652-653 ) 
The rate of accumulation is assumed to be given, presumably, 
as argued above, exogenously or historically determined. 
The major importance of this law of accumulation is evident 
from the fact that Marx uses it in place of the classical 
law of population which he discarded. Since he did not recognize

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