On Wed, 21 Feb 2001, you wrote: > I find this treatment unstatisfactory as it causes the mass of unproductive > expenditure in the national accounts to depend upon the degree of > dis-aggregation of the ownership of firms. > > ( NOT AT ALL... THE QUESTION IS WHETHER A COMPANY SELLS THE SERVICES OF > SECURITY MEN... EG SECURICOR, THE BIGGEST SUCH FIRM IN EUROPE, TO OTHER > CAPITALISTS, SO EXPANDING ITS OWN CAPITAL THROUGH THE PRODUCTION OF A > SERVICE; OR USES THEM ITSELF FOR ITS OWN PROTECTION USING ITS OWN MONEY AS > REVENUE ) > > By simply hiving of divisions carrying out unproductive activities like > accounting (ACCOUNTING IS RELATED TO THE CHANGE IN SOCIAL FORM AND SO > UNPRODUCTIVE PER SE, SECURITY IS ANOTHER ISSUE) and security guard > activities, these activities get transformed into produtive labour. > The point here is that I would agree with you that accounting is uproductive per-se. As soon as you allow that things can be unproductive independent of the social form of the labour, then you open a hole in your position. Security can also be argued to be unproductive per se, since it is only concerned with preserving the social form of the product. Or more commonly it is concerned with guarding paper tokens which are not even a product, and as such falls in the same way as accounting. > > ( THIS RAISES SOME IMPORTANT QUESTIONS: INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, IT IS WHAT THE > UK STATE HAS BEEN TRYING CONSTANTLY TO DO WITH ITS OWN UNPRODUCTIVE ADMIN > LABOUR FORCE IN THE UK FOR 20 YEARS... WHY? WHAT CAN WE MAKE OF THIS? > WASN'T THATCHERS INSTINCT IN THE INTERESTS OF CAPITAL , AND HOW CAN WE > ASSESS THIS? I THINK EACH CONCERETE CASE NEEDS CAREFUL CONSIDERATION. I think that there are three issues here: 1. The production of absolute surplus value by intensifying labour in things like hospital cleaning. 2. The transfer of the surplus product from the state to private capital. 3. The possible increase in rate of technical change that may occur if an activity is run by private capital not the state. To the extent that the product of this labour enters directly or indirectly into the real wage this will produce relative surplus value. Item 2 may not have been very relevant in the UK, except in the basic industries - water, telecoms, energy. But in the former USSR it is the key issue behind privatisation. From the standpoint of private capital all labour in the USSR was unproductive, as no private profit was earned on it. None the less there was clearly a surplus product. Now the total product and the surplus product have been enormously reduced, but such surplus as there is now appears a private profit. By the crazy logic of capitalism the workers of the former USSR are now 'productive' whereas formerly they were not. No matter that in making them productive the economy has regressed by 40 years or more. I think that we need a more sophisticated definition of whether labour is productive, than you are putting forward. Otherwise the concept of productive labour turns from a progressive critique of social parisitism into a reactionary cover for the destruction of social ownership. >if > churches chose to incorporate themselves as limited liability companies the > work of priests would become productive. If regiments were privatised then > the army would be productive. THE LEGAL FORM IS NOT THE QUESTION, IT IS THE > QUESTION OF PRIVATE APPROPRIATION IN THE WORK PROCESS, AS OPPOSED TO > SPENDING ON LABOUR THAT DISTRIBUTES IT'S RESULTS AS THE PAYER DEMANDS . please clarify > > I think that the question of whether the labour contributes to the > production of relative surplus value has to be the primary criterion, this > is > consonant with Smith's original intention when introducing the concept of > unproductive labour.(IT WOULD BE NICE TO THINK THAT RSV WAS IN SMITHS MIND > AT THE TIME BUT I DOUBT IT) I will have to look out my Smith to check it. I dont have him to hand.
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