102 LEWIN between innovation and capital accumulation. This last topic mentioned is particularly well elucidated by the software analogy since it is obvious to anyone that software grows by the continual upgrading of the capabilities it embodies. The traditional economic approach to capital accumulation is to separate it from the question of innovation. The software analogy (capital as knowledge) cautions against doing this and invites the realization that accu- mulation and innovation are inextricably linked. If time and knowledge belong together and capital accumulation proceeds over time, it must be expected that capital goods will come to embody new knowledge. Moreover, considering the evolution of software makes it clear that a “social learning process” is involved in which the disparate and specialized knowledge of many different individuals is combined to deliver the ﬁnal products. The same is inescapably true of capital goods in general. “Because design is a process of bringing together and embodying productive knowledge in a handy, ready-to-use form, design is a learning process. Because that knowledge is of different kinds and widely dispersed among different people and institutions, design is a social learning process—it depends on the interaction of a number of people” (28). The history
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 6, 2004
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