Full text: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - 2017 Heft 2 (2)

Higher qualification and its transfer into innovation are bound to new knowledge,
which ultimately can only be produced by human beings. In an innovation-driven
economy the new knowledge will be partly stored in private firms and property
rights may augment capital intensity, but production of tacit and explicit knowledge
takes place in the „knowledge industry“ with high labour intensity and only product
innovation may need high capital intensity. In an innovation-driven economy, la-
bour gains of importance and higher labour productivity depends less on capital
intensity, than on qualification. Both in current production13 and in R&D qualifica-
tion has become a limiting factor and wages are not solely a residuum. If we distin-
guish between simple and qualified work14 the total quantity of labour inputs may
have risen and only the labour-saving effect of prevailing high capital intensity re-
duces the employment efficiency of economic growth. If the high innovative ca-
pacity of the knowledge economy would be applied for augmenting resource pro-
ductivity, capital intensity could be reduced and more employment would be cre-
ated. More labour would be needed15 and wages would not fall. Contrary to a
mechanistic price substitution „intelligent production“ (grids, networks etc.) will
spare natural capital for which higher labour inputs are a precondition. Europe
2020 has specified a comprehensive European innovation system, which includes
growingly R&D for higher resource efficiency, but the general orientation toward
higher labour productivity by higher capital intensity prevents an effective transi-
tion to lower growth.
High economic growth with growing capital intensity entails also redistribution. If
we distinguish between quantities and prices and quantitative labour intensity has
risen, this does not imply that in terms of prices, i.e. the wage-profit relation must
rise. Neoclassics and Postkeynesians agree that the volume of profits depends on
the price volume of investments (P = (I )) and higher capital intensity in terms of
prices augments the profit quota also in cases where the physical labour intensity
has risen. In fact, the wage quota has diminished considerably during the last de-
cades. As production is mainly determined by physical quantities and income dis-
tribution depends on social relations (J. St. Mill) income distribution may have de-
coupled from the system of quantities. Rough estimations of deflated factor
productivities can hardly explain income distribution. During the last five decades
deflated labour productivity grew about threefold of productive capital productivity,
which would have declined, if resource productivity would not have marginally
risen. Even if the income shares (P/L) would have remained constant large ex-
planatory gaps exist, possibly due to the enormous accumulation of unproductive
financial capital.
4. Economic growth, economic welfare and globalisation
Higher resource productivity can contribute to a reduction of distributional tensi-
ons by a higher consumption quota, but the decoupling of prices and quantities
will still remain and higher surpluses in terms of prices enhances economic
growth. Therefore, economic growth in industrial countries can be reduced by real
capital exports and not by export surpluses. Higher resource productivity allows a
higher consumption quota in industrial countries and lower capital intensity makes
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43. Jahrgang (2017), Heft 2 Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft
        

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