Econpspeakでサンドイッチマンが、ダンカン・フォーリー(Duncan Foley)の2012年3月9日付けのEastern Economics Association会長退任演説「Dilemmas of Economic Growth」から引用している

Some growth economists might regard the considerations we have just reviewed as rather quaintly anachronistic in putting so much emphasis on the material nature of economic production. Well-established patterns of economic growth show that as incomes rise, the proportion of output as measured by such indexes as real GDP consisting of material goods steadily declines. The major sources of growth in incomes (and, given the way we measure GDP, in indexes of output) shift to the tertiary sector, particularly services. The chief input to services is human intelligence, and at least in some accounts, intelligence is an unlimited resource. So why couldn't real GDP, measured to include the use-value of services, continue to grow without limit?
There are some immediate problems with this conception. Strictly speaking the production of almost all services does require material and energy inputs, as the gigantic server farms required for information technology are a concrete reminder. Maintaining the human capital to provide a glittering array of intellectual services requires material and energy inputs, and these very likely increase as the quality of intellectual output rises.


It is important to remember, however, that the transfer of existing goods or assets in these transactions is not production. When financial intermediaries appropriate some part of the economic surpluses generated in these transactions as revenue, however, economic statisticians have felt compelled to regard the resulting incomes as part of national income, and to invent an imaginary product, financial services, to put on the product side of the accounts as a counterpart.


As Slavoj Žižek vividly points out, increasing returns in the appropriation of rents for intellectual property simultaneously obscure the origin of the resulting enormous incomes in the pool of surplus value appropriated from productive labor and mystify the factors behind the increasing inequality in the distribution of these revenues [Žižek 2012]. The origin of the rent of a particularly exploitable resource like a waterfall or a petroleum deposit is hard enough to understand, but at least the owner of a waterfall cannot allow an unlimited number of cotton mills to exploit the resulting usable energy. By contrast, the owner of the rights to distribute a piece of software that, due to network externalities, becomes a technical standard, can allow an effectively unlimited number of users to install the software and charge each of them a fee.
It would be, however, a peculiar political economy that convinced itself that the increasing returns in the rents to artificially created assets, such as systems software, were a remedy for thermodynamically imposed decreasing returns to resource use in material production.
スラヴォイ・ジジェク*1が鮮やかに指摘したように、知的財のレント配分の収穫逓増的な性格は、生産的労働から配分された剰余価値のプールというその巨額の所得の源泉を曖昧にし、そうした収入の配分において不平等が拡大する要因を分からなくしてしまう [Žižek 2012]。滝や石油鉱床のように利用価値が高い資源についてもレントの源泉の把握は難しいが、少なくとも滝の所有主は、そのエネルギーを利用する紡績工場を無限に建てさせることはできない。対照的に、ネットワーク外部性によって標準技術となったソフトウエアにおいては、その配布権の所有者は、事実上無限のユーザーにソフトウエアをインストールさせて各ユーザーから料金を徴収することができる。

この引用部には「Cake without Flour(小麦粉なきケーキ)」という小題が付けられているが、それはハーマン・デイリー(Herman Daly)がコブ=ダグラス生産関数を批判した時の言葉をもじったものだという(こちらの小論でハーマンは、コブ=ダグラス生産関数*2を、材料が無いのにありとあらゆる料理が生み出せるレシピに喩えて揶揄している)。そのデイリーの批判はニコラス・ジョージェスク=レーゲン(Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen)の考察に基づいているが、フォーリーの上記の議論も、最後に熱力学的な制約を持ち出していることから分かるように、ジョージェスク=レーゲンのエントロピーと経済的生産に関する考察に依拠している。



*1:cf. Wikipedia