Re: the productive macworker

From: Paul Bullock (paulbullock@EBMS-LTD.CO.UK)
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 17:19:56 EDT


I should say that here we are talking of the production of workers
foodstuffs. The destruction of the bourgeois family, constant movement  of
labour and the 24 hour economy require these tasks to be provided outside of
the traditional home 'kitchen'/ hearth.   These foods are a small part of
the overall mass of food produced, but nevertheless the role is clear.
Workers consume this stuff as part of a regular regime ( and not the
capitalist class who have a finer diet.)

The worker who provide the food at the end of the queue, much like a high
class soup-kitchen, create a profit for their corporation. Part of their
time is productive ( food preparation)  an other part unproductive ( eg
collecting the cash). It is most unfortunate that so many writers seem to
want to identify  particular concrete labours in their entirety  with  the
categories productive and unproductive of capital. The fact is that  a mix
often occurs during anyone day at the individual level. It is only as a
general statement that we can refer to time spent either one way or another,
labouring activity  acting in one way or another. Of course there will be
some professions where the distinction is particularly clear. Bank clerks
and others purely involved in  registering claims to money for example.
Generally the word 'service' in this difficult in any case. It cannot be
taken to be simply the same as the category 'unproductive'  as used by Marx.
This was partly why Marx was unhappy at Smith's use of the term 'immaterial'
as an identity with unproductive.

Paul Bullock.

----- Original Message -----
From: "michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@SFU.CA>
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2004 8:25 PM
Subject: [OPE-L] the productive macworker

> Came across the following today in a piece by Naomi Klein ('The Bush
> doctrine....'). Sounds like they (unlike NK) have been reading Marx on the
> distinction between producing a commodity and effecting a change in its
> value-form. Would people agree that the macworkers are not only exploited
> but also the source of surplus value?
>          in solidarity,
>            m
> >Some jobs, however, are more responsive than others to the power of
> >positive presidential thinking. More than 82 per cent of the jobs created
> >in April were in service industries, including restaurants and retail,
> >while the biggest new employers were temp agencies. Over the past year,
> >272,00 manufacturing jobs have been lost. No wonder the President's
> >Economic Report in February floated the idea of reclassifying fast-food
> >restaurants as factories. "When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger,
> >for example, is it providing a 'service' or is it combining inputs to
> >'manufacture' a product?" the report asks.
> Michael A. Lebowitz
> Professor Emeritus
> Economics Department
> Simon Fraser University
> Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
> Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
> Residencias Anauco Suites
> Departamento 601
> Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
> Caracas, Venezuela
> (58-212) 573-4111
> fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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