Capital and Interest - Vol. 3

Capital and Interest - Vol. 3

Capital and Interest - Vol. 3

Capital and Interest - Vol. 3

Excerpt

Without coming to an important conclusion as to other aspects of my theory I stated on page 3 of Essay 1 that those inventions that require a lengthening of the customary production period are by far more numerous than those that entail a shortening. But some writers maintained the very opposite. Horace White, for instance, describes the shortening of the production process as the most significant and characteristic feature of modern industry. He maintains that both methods, the lengthening as well as the shortening, rule the world "but with the superiority belonging to the latter"--the shortening. Lexis advanced an even more pronounced assertion. He ascribes to my theory the assumption that technological progress in general entails a lengthening of the production period because it leads to utilization of ever more ingenious machines and more detailed preparations. Then he opposes this assumption in the following words: "But I should like to maintain that since the beginning of our cultural development technological progress tended, with increasing success, to decrease the number of workers in the various enterprises per equal amounts of capital and at a simultaneous shortening of the production period."

The meaning of these words can be no other than that Lexis, without denying the occurrence of "lengthening" inventions, assumes such a preponderance of shortening inventions that the balance is tipped in favor of a progressive shortening of the production period. And since he assumes this tendency to have begun at the beginning of our cultural development and then continued "with increasing success," the production methods prevailing today obviously must be shorter than at the "beginning of our cultural development."

I believe that the obvious fallacy of this inference clearly demon-

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