[OPE-L:4906] Re: faux frais, armaments, and security guard services

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.in2home.co.uk)
Date: Wed Feb 14 2001 - 17:54:59 EST


Security guards may or may not be unproductive labourers. If employed by
businees out of its own pocket to protect the premises, then unproductive.
If employed by a company to protect others property, in which a profit is
made, then productive. It is not a question of the use value, but the
particular social relation. I agree with your (1) and (2). With regard to
(3) it  doesn't matter who buys these weapons ( in Marx's simple
reproduction schema unproductive consumption is part of the process, and it
is well known eg  that privately held hand guns/ rifles  in the USA are
extraordinary in number when compared to NATO's ).  Profit is made in their
production, and labour is 'productive' of capital ( and also often  in
employing the secrurity guard) but  the use values themselves produced
cannot re-enter the process of reproduction of capital. From the organic
side, the value side, -  the relation from  which we can actually undersatnd
appearances  -   this means that any productivity in this type of production
( as opposed for example to bread) will not result in reduction of the value
of variable capital and cannot therefore promote the production of relative
surplus value. The result is that  the TRPF cannot be  counteracted directly
by the expansion of this sector, on the contrary it will accelerate the
problem. But this is a cost that Imperialism well understands, it is the
cost of  protecting its position, extorting new markets and the  absolute
reduction in the costs of labour and materials. So Andrew, this particular
'faux frais'(!!) is not so faux after all. It was Peter Howell who first
took me through this one.

Paul B.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald_A_Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com>
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Date: 14 February 2001 20:45
Subject: [OPE-L:4904] faux frais, armaments, and security guard services

>In [OPE-L:4903] Andrew K wrote:
>> Actually, I think armaments and the whole of military
>> spending are
>> faux frais of production and thus part of Dept. I.  I do
>> not see
>> how one can think of them as private consumption.
>1)  Military spending is not "incidental".  It wasn't "incidental" in
>time and it is still less "incidental" in our time.
>2)  "Faux frais" in Marx  take the form of expenditures by individual
>capitalists. I can't think of any example in which he referred to state
>spending as "faux frais".
>3)  Military spending is undertaken by the state not individual
>Capitalists may (or may not) produce armaments, but  demand by the state is
>4) Payments for security guards (and even private armies, e.g. of
>Pinkertons) by individual capitalists *may* be thought of as  "faux frais"
>*or* they may be best thought of as unproductive consumption of surplus
>value by individual capitalists (and, thereby, the security guards etc.
>would represent unproductive labor) ... but this is not the same thing as
>the armaments sector and state military spending.
>Paul B: do you think that security guards, etc. should be thought of as
>"faux frais" or as unproductive labor? I tend towards the later position
>I am open to discussion.
>In solidarity, Jerry

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