[OPE-L:5082] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: faux frais, armaments, and security guard services

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.in2home.co.uk)
Date: Mon Feb 26 2001 - 17:02:57 EST

Paul C. (Andrew K, Gerry and Rakesh)

Thanks for your responses so far: Also to Andrew K whose comment (4903) on
armaments production started me off,  (Andrew considered such production
'faux frais'),  and to Rakesh and Gerry who have contributed to this exchange .   

In my response I started by arguing that surplus value was  produced by armaments industries  but that the nature of such production ( following Howell) was such that whilst  it produced surplus value  it could not  produce the form of relative surplus value. Rakesh has agreed to accept this point I think

Of course, we both agree to the banal observation that the use values produced cannot themselves be used in accumulation in the future (eg Marx in the Grundrisse refers to  unproductive expenditures of the Crimean War  , that war's impact is exactly the same as if a nation were to drop a part of its capital into the ocean etc), and clearly this is, in the end, a real loss of reproductive capacity on the use value side. A 'final' consumer good !  But then so is luxury consumption, the final consumption of  capitalist's as a social class. This does not stop us from saying with Marx 'Production for unproductive consumption is quite as productive as that for productive consumption; always assuming that it produces or reproduces capital' (which in the form of money, it does, ) (Grundrisse  see pp306...308 Penguin/Viking).

To underline the view I elaborated here is a quote from Marx, Grundrisse,  Penguin/Pelican/  p753 

'Ramsey and other economists correctly distinguish between whether productivity grows in the branches of industry  which make fixed capital, and naturally wages, or in other industries,[ and these others include for us armaments PBl.) eg. luxury-goods industries. The latter cannot diminish necessary labour time.'  

This is of course the production of relative surplus value. Marx adds that such production can only lead to a reduction in  necessary labour time by  exchanging for agricultural products from other countries ... ie the same result as if productivity had been raised in agriculture ay home. One can add, for any product that enters into the historically constituted neds of the working class or means of production thereof. This of course explains the desperate world wide export of arms by producers who must try to escape the economic obstacle that   such production places on offset  the tendency of the rate of profit to Rakesh, I hope this helps.

I shall send some other shortish comments soon to  answer 1) Gerry's questions about 'security workers' (which by the way I  refered to by a hurried typo  mistake previously, when I meant armamants workers (when I said they could be either productive or unproductive), depending on the extraction of surplus value. Gerry's  security people are different.  2) Just a small addition to my explanation of roads as significant constant capital investments, which is ok as it stands, and I think not written up elsewhere in this way before . 3)  Paul C's comments on 'segmenting' sectors and 'defining ' into existence productive workers
4) andrews  'limiting condition'  of living on air.

Best wishes

Paul Bullock

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