Front Page Titles (by Subject) V. Economies Due to Inventions. - Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
Return to Title Page for Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
V. Economies Due to Inventions. - Karl Marx, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole 
Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole, by Karl Marx. Ed. Federick Engels. Trans. from the 1st German edition by Ernest Untermann (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr and Co. Cooperative, 1909).
About Liberty Fund:
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
V. Economies Due to Inventions.
These economies in the utilisation of fixed capital, we repeat, are due to the application of the requirements of labor on a large scale, in short, are due to the fact that these requirements serve as the first conditions of direct co-operative and social production, a co-operation within the primary process of production. On the one hand, this is the indispensable requirement for the application of mechanical and chemical inventions without increasing the price of commodities, and this is always the first consideration. On the other hand, only production on a large scale permits those economies which are derived from co-operative productive consumption. Finally, it is only the experience of combined laborers which discovers the where and how of economies, the simplest methods of applying the experience gained, the way to overcome practical frictions in carrying out theories, etc.
Incidentally it should be noted that there is a difference between universal labor and co-operative labor. Both kinds play their role in the process of production, both flow one into the other, but both are also differentiated. Universal labor is scientific labor, such as discoveries and inventions. This labor is conditioned on the co-operation of living fellow-beings and on the labors of those who have gone before. Co-operative labor, on the other hand, is a direct co-operation of living individuals.
The foregoing is corroborated by frequent observation, to-wit:
1) The great difference in the cost of the first building of a new machine and that of its reproduction, on which see Ure and Babbage.
2) The far greater cost of operating an establishment based on a new invention as compared to later establishments arising out of the ruins of the first one, as it were. This is carried to such an extent that the first leaders in a new enterprise are generally bankrupted, and only those who later buy the buildings, machinery, etc., cheaper, make money out of it. It is, therefore, generally the most worthless and miserable sort of money-capitalists who draw the greatest benefits out of the universal labor of the human mind and its co-operative application in society.
THE EFFECT OF FLUCTUATIONS IN PRICE.