The Specificity of Manufacturing in Marx’s Economic Thought
AbstractThe manufacturing sector has traditionally been regarded, particularly in development economics and in the Kaldorian literature, as having a ‘special role’ as an engine of growth. This article examines Marx’s approach to manufacturing, and the extent to which manufacturing could be considered to have a special place in Marx’s economic thinking, especially in relation to accumulation and growth. It is demonstrated that the precursors of a number of the important ideas in non-Marxian heterodox economics concerning the special properties of manufacturing may actually be found in Marx’s texts. The important ‘progressive’ features of manufacturing identified by Marx include: division of labour; socialisation of labour; mechanisation; increasing returns to scale; learning-by-doing; technological advancement; and overall, superior potential for cumulative productivity increases. But in a difference with Kaldorian-type approaches, for Marx these properties are not only sector-based. We thus suggest an interpretation of Marx as having a twodimensional conceptualisation of activity-specificity, with sectoral and ‘technologicalorganisational’ dimensions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge in its series Cambridge Working Papers in Economics with number 0937.
Date of creation: 12 Oct 2009
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Web page: http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/index.htm
Marx; Kaldor; manufacturing; growth; cumulative causation;
Other versions of this item:
- Fiona Tregenna, 2013. "The specificity of manufacturing in Marx's economic thought," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 603-624, August.
- B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
- B24 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist; Scraffian
- B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
- B51 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Socialist; Marxian; Sraffian
- L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
- O14 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-10-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-HPE-2009-10-24 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-PKE-2009-10-24 (Post Keynesian Economics)
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