Home Forum Political Economy Can Capital Goods Be Accumulated? Reply To: Can Capital Goods Be Accumulated?

Jonathan Nitzan
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From an accounting perspective, there is no way around the fact that capitalists consume their capital goods, they do not accumulate them.

I don’t mean to begin a debate on this issue, just a couple of notes:

1. I don’t think economists think capitalists accumulate any given capital good. Obviously, individual capital goods depreciate. But in the view of economists, capitalists not only replenish the overall capital stock, they also cause it to grow. For them, one of the key hallmarks of capitalism is a growing physical capital stock, made of an-ever shifting array of capital goods and measured in value-read-money-in-‘constant-prices’ (figure below).

2. One has to distinguish accounting from so-called economic depreciation. Accounting depreciation is determined by accounting rules. So-called economic depreciation is determined, supposedly, by the (productive) value of the capital good. In practice, national accounting statistics measure depreciation differently that company accountants.