Full text: Accumulation and Technology

8 
the validity of the argument that the wage is kept at 
subsistence level by the pressure of population , he had 
to provide another explanation in place of it, and this is 
the law of accumulation. The mechanism of this law is based 
on the feed back which a wage increase above a critical 
level will set in motion via its effect on accumulation 
and from this to unemployment and thence back to wages. 
A brief comment on the side: There is a certain assymetry 
in this wage determination, in so far as Marx always talks 
about the upper limit of wages, but not of a symetrically 
determined lower level. Indeed, the relaxation of innovative 
efforts of the capitalists may in certain conditions not 
go far enough to prevent a steady increase in the industrial 
reserve army which will not react on accumulation, simply 
becasuse the subsistence level of wages ( historically 
determined ) will be reached. This subsistence level 
continues to be relevant as the lower level of the wage. 
It will be noted that the Marxian mechanism is less 
rigid than the classical one sistence 
level, defined historically 
consequence of increasing productivity, thus an upward 
trend of wages is in principle not excluded by the law 
of accumulation. More about that later. 
The Marxian law of accumulation, in some of its aspects, 
isclosely parallel to what is usually known as the 
Cambridge theory of distribution. This also maintains that 
distribution is determined by the rate of accumulation 
_(_ the rate of growth of capital ) , but this 20th century 
version of the law of accumulation does not rely on factors
	        

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