From: Diego Guerrero (diego.guerrero@CPS.UCM.ES)
Date: Sun Oct 02 2005 - 06:59:33 EDT
I wrote: OK. This could work for corn and iron. But how do you measure all services in kilograms per annum? Think of haircuts, TV, movies, theater, financial and lawyer services... It would be "too scottish" (I am joking) to think this is not productive labour. And Paul C. asked: I would deny that any of these other than perhaps haircuts and some theatre are productive.. Are you really saying that financial and legal services are productive? My answer: In my opinion, we need to distinguish between two different things; a) labour can be productive or unproductive of surplus value; b) labour can produce things or services that are necessary in all kinds of societies or "contingents" (i.e., necessary only in class societies or specifically in capitalist societies). So that we have 4 possibilities. I illustrate them via some (not exhaustive) examples: "Necessary" labour "Contingent" labour Productive labour A) Productive+necessary labour Iron, cars., transport and distribution services; legal, financial. services; teachers and physicians and other workers in private firms; employees in public (like in private) firms . B) Productive+contingent labour Rolls Royce and other luxuries, Marketing services Gold or credit money Tanks, missiles, weapons. Waged prostitutes Private and public policy . Unproductive labour C) Unproductive+necessary labour Teachers, physicians. and many other workers in Public Administration Domestic labour Autonomous workers . D) Unproductive+contingent labour Pure circulation Autonomous prostitutes . Four comments: 1) I suppose that in a post-capitalist, democratic, society we will not have labour producing things and services like those of the second column -it will be people, not me, who must decide on this--, but this list does not have anything to do with the question of (surplus value) productive or improductive labour. 2) This is a classification based on Marx (and Rubin or the Belgians Nagels or Gouverneur, and others), not on Sraffians, Feminists, Surplus-Approach-ers, etc. 3) In empirical work, it is a mistake to do what Anwar, Fred and many others (Delaunay, etc.) do. They suppose that commercial and financial branches are unproductive. So they depict an idea of the evolution of capitalism as a production system that is narrowing its area of expansion. I think that the opposite is true: commerce, financial, armaments, etc. are "new" areas and new possibilities to extract more surplus value. Smith told us that capitalism march on two legs: 1) the first one is the extraction of surplus value; 2) the second is the accumulation of a part of this surplus value. If we do not see where new surplus value is being extracted we will not have a correct picture of the functioning of capitalism. 4) Think that all branches and firms have to devoid a part of their labour to perform the circulation of their commodities (things or services). Also commercial or financial branches: they have to "sell" their services, but they "produce" services as well, and this is main activity. So, most labour performed in them is productive labour. To (re)produce credit money is like to (re)produce gold money. Workers inside the banks are reproducing money. If banks closed a week due to a strike, no money would be re(produced) in this period. ----- Original Message ----- From: Paul Cockshott To: OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 12:07 AM Subject: Re: [OPE-L] basics vs. non-basics and unproductive labour OK. This could work for corn and iron. But how do you measure all services in kilograms per annum? Think of haircuts, TV, movies, theater, financial and lawyer services... It would be "too scottish" (I am joking) to think this is not productive labour. I would deny that any of these other than perhaps haircuts and some theatre are productive.. Are you really saying that financial and legal services are productive?
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