He certainly had an imagination but produced little but wishful thinking in a pseudo-scientific wrapper. Prophetic in my mind implies an accuracy that he has miserably failed to deliver.
He was the only one to my knowledge who modelled the effects of concentration of capital, necessarily leading to economic depressions. Separately was he right about the inevitable rise of monopolies? Lets first agree he was big time wrong on many things, but lets not be binary about him either.
, it actually goes the opposite way at modern technology levels due to increased efficiencies of using raw materials and energy. And this trend if anything looks like increasing as time goes on.
Agreed. However there comes a point of diminishing returns. So capital allows the use of machines which increases productivity and reduces unit energy costs. That part is easy, and universally accepted. At this point you have people who say, 'well humans are more adaptable, and what they lose in efficiency, they gain in resilience' (efficiency is always inversely correlated with resilience) - so you have that trade off to contend with. EF Schumacher held that appropriate human scale allowed for more diversification, more resilient communities, more local ownership, more local business, more suiting of products to local needs. But centralization was an unstoppable force and was always going to dominate. However there comes a point where increasing complexity reaches diminishing returns, allowing simpler systems to compete once again. We're all dependent on the internet now. The per capita energy foot print is huge for data transfer - similar to what you use to heat your home. Twenty years ago we got on fine without it. Many of these costs are not realized as they are externalized but they will come to bite us in the end.
But the machines keep getting cheaper and better.
Do they? I hear stories about people not wanting to buy diesel cars made in the last few years because they are too complicated, some going back to petrol for instance.
And ironically the result most basic needs being met so cheaply using mass produced products allowing a luxury choice here and there. Only the really high earner can go handmade across the board.
This is a misnomer. People with more money buy more handmade food, not because they have more money - they have more education - and that is a big factor. People who eat simple natural food spend less on their food. Contrast that with the other end of the social spectrum who regularly order home delivered takeouts (ask anyone in the restaurant home delivery business = from which demographic the bulk of their week day income comes from). I would say the irony is that people who go for the 'cheap' food end up spending a lot more.