[OPE-L:3294] Re: productive and unproductive economists

From: glevy@acnet.pratt.edu
Date: Tue May 23 2000 - 12:47:07 EDT

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From: "Patrick L. Mason" <pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu>
Date: Mon, 22 May 2000 16:57:59 -0400
Subject: Re: [OPE-L:3283] productive and unproductive economists


I don't think I said cyborgs who perform the job of economists are
productive of surplus value. Or, at least, that's not what I meant to say.
If cyborgs are available to do all the work, there's nothing left for
economists or anyone else to do. We just turn on our cyborgs and let them
make all the decisions. Cruel world, leave me out.
Whether economists employed by capitalists are productive is another issue.
It depends. Those who supply services can be productive, since there is no
particular reason a commodity has to be a product, i.e., a physical item.
For example, artists (singers, writers, dancers, etc) who create original
work are most definitely productive of surplus value. Most of what
economists do probably does not create surplus value, but instead uses
value created elsewhere. Albeit, the work of economists may be necessary
labor. But, necessary labor does not necessary equal labor that is
productive of surplus value. Conceivably, economists would create surplus
value if their work created some new useful item. I can't think of a
particular example at the moment, but it isn't theoretically inconceivable.

peace, patrick

At 03:15 PM 5/22/00 GMT, you wrote:
>Re Patrick's [OPE-L:3272]:
>You imply that cyborgs in a Star Trek world who can perform the job of
economists are productive of surplus value.
>This leads me to ask: do you think that economists in *contemporary
capitalism* who are employed by capital (as economists, rather than as
instructors teaching economics) are productive of surplus value?
>In solidarity, Jerry

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