This article tries to introduce product innovation into Marxist theory of capital accumulation. Although in Grundrisse Marx has already foreseen the importance of product innovation in overcoming the limits to capital originated from the production of relative surplus value, mainstream Marxist theories of capital accumulation have up till now made few endeavours to envisage this problem. It is argued in this chapter that to introduce product innovation into Marxist theory of accumulation depends on a reconstruction of the fundamental contradictions in capital accumulation, that is the contradiction between production of surplus value and realisation of surplus value, combined with the contradiction between exchange value and use value as the driving force in its development. The production of relative surplus value based on process innovation and consequent productivity enhancement, given any specific use value, will lead to overproduction, that is the intensification of those fundamental contradictions in accumulation, which nevertheless could be mitigated by introducing product innovation. In evaluating critically the contribution by Mandel in his long waves theory, we further argue, following the lead of neo-Schumpeterians, that there is a possibility for radical product innovations to be at least semi-endogenously induced in capital accumulation, and thus paving the way for a long boom of capitalism.
Meng, J. (2013), "Product Innovation and Capital Accumulation: An Attempt to Introduce Neo-Schumpeterian Insights into Marxian Economics", Zarembka, P. (Ed.) Contradictions: Finance, Greed, and Labor Unequally Paid (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 261-285. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0161-7230(2013)0000028010Download as .RIS
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