The factors and resources of recent productions, and those produced in the past, are not constituted in a characteristic and independent element. Capital instruments are always engendered by the conjunction of natural resources and labour. Along with Mises, we should add time. They are, in fact, labour, natural factors and time combined. Those capital factors are intermediate stages in the productive road from natural resources to the goal of consumer goods. He who produces assisted by capital goods reaches the goal first. They are an especially outstanding shortcut and their economic importance for well-being and doing-good should be exalted repeatedly. 

But in fact, they lack their own economic productive capacity. It is an error to attribute an independent power to the capitalised instrumental one. We should distinguish between producing more goods and producing more value, between physical or technical productivity and economic or value productivity. If it is already doubtful that physical productivity can be separated from labour, what is completely erroneous is attributing productivity in terms of value to what we use, since that productivity has immediate reference finally and it is directive work and the potential last users that give it this. Awarding productive instruments efficiency for themselves detracts from the reality since they are only efficient to the extent that they are used by the worker, whether he or she works in an office or a factory. Man prioritises goods of physical capital and transmits the objective and therefore, in the end, its economic value. All the accumulated and productive civilising baggage has always been and will be an instrumental efficient cause only as long as it is perfectly obedient to human work. 

In capital goods two effects can be distinguished: the one that originates the capital instrument thanks to its own characteristics and the one that is born in it because of the influence of who manages it. It is the classic example of the paintbrush in the artist’s hands where the paintbrush facilitates the application of the paint on the canvas according to its own characteristics. However, the landscape captured in the painting is created mainly by the painter’s art through the action of the instrument. The art that the painter permanently possesses is acquired transiently by the paintbrush to the extent that it is used by him. The good painter always has the capacity to produce a good painting. The paintbrush only does so as long as it is held by the expertise of his masterly hand. 

In the same way, instruments, including telematic ones, must adapt perfectly to the characteristics of the human being that directs and guides them, so that they can perform their task of mediation, although they have to adapt in form to the material goods that they must transform. Technological development tends to return to the real necessities of human activity, to the correct size of man, avoiding technological gigantism that dehumanises and therefore, self-destructs and disconcerts. It is what Schumacher defended with the expansion of intermediate technology, on a small scale, more decentralized, even with forms of organization that use more manpower, such as those that begin to spread through personalized computer science and consumption, or tele-employment, and that contribute to a vigorous economic growth even in the most underdeveloped countries. Technological development should be on a par with the cultural development of human work; otherwise islands of hyper-developed technological gigantism will be created together with great masses of people with primitive technological levels. 

To obtain speedy harmonic growth, it is more effective to use an intermediate technology that is halfway between the primitive and the sophisticated at astral levels for the culture of the great mass of workers. This technology, highly complex, is inaccessible for most and foments the tendency to abandon the chore that was previously carried out using more primitive techniques. Technology should not only be adapted in its forms to the human body and mind, but rather it should submerge itself more easily in the cultural, relatively simple environment, in which it must be used. The choice of more and more personalized and appropriate technologies opens up new roads of constructive action in a more dynamic and vital focus on development. The correct accumulated knowledge can be applied in a great variety of ways not necessarily complicated. The differences between the modern technological sector and the traditional one have to diminish, raising this and reducing their concrete manifestations to that. If these differences do not diminish, social disintegration will continue, manifested by massive unemployment and migration on a large scale. An instrumental suitability to the physical and intellectual characteristics of human beings is a requirement for greater material productivity and to help people to help themselves. Post-industrialism means that the technical invention, the instrument, is welded directly to economic productive activity in terms of humanization.

The user has to control and to dominate the performance of capital instruments at all times if he wants these to exercise authentic productive efficiency. If the authority responsible for their performance is lost, the machines tend to work automatically without human purpose, following their own principles and mechanical laws that can deteriorate human coexistence. The main question is to give the idea of growth a qualitative determination in which many things should grow and many others diminish. The central point, when speaking about technological progress, is to determine qualitatively what it is that determines progress, discovering in our personal environment the human vocation that all material instruments always have, no matter how excessively refined they are. 

JJ Franch Meneu