[OPE-L:5093] productive and unproductive labor (again)

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Fri Mar 02 2001 - 03:56:34 EST

Paul B and others: 

In the recent threads on "faux frais, armaments,
and value" and related issues we have (again)
been discussing unproductive labor.

In this connection I have a specific question: 

what specific objections do others have to
the definitions of productive and unproductive
labor made by (listmember) Anwar Shaikh and
E.  Ahmet Tonak in _Measuring the Wealth of
Nations_ (Cambridge University Press, 1994)?

At the IWGVT  mini-conference Alan was asked 
about how he would measure productive and 
unproductive labor if he was to extend his 
recent empirical work to include that subject.
Alan answered that he would use  Shaikh/
Tonak.  Similarly, others on this list in the past (including Paul Z if I recall  correctly) have endorsed this method for calculating and measuring productive and  unproductive labor. 
So, I think it might be helpful to identify any problems with their definitions and then 
discuss them. 

Who knows  -- maybe we might find a wide 
range of agreement.  In any event, it's worth
talking about, right? After all,  measuring
productive and unproductive labor has been 
generally recognized as a crucial aspect of 
Marxian empirical work.

( A definition offered in the S/T book is:
"Productive labor is the production labor
employed in capitalist production sectors: 
agriculture, mining, construction, transportation
and public utilities, manufacturing, and 
productive services (defined as all services
except business services, legal services, and
private households; see Table E.1 for a full 
listing of productive services). It excludes 
nonproduction labor (sales, etc.) employed in 
the production sectors such as trade or
finance.  Total productive labor is the sum
of the production workers in each production sector. Total unproductive labor is the sum
of nonproduction workers in the production
sectors and all workers in the nonproduction
sectors", p. 295).

Agree or disagree? If  you disagree, why?

In solidarity, Jerry

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