[OPE-L] wages of superintendence

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri Nov 10 2006 - 12:44:26 EST

You didn't really answer my question, but never mind. Faux frais of
production in Marx's sense are of many different kinds, some occur
regularly, and some only occasionally or accidentally (for example expenses
incurred due to a disaster or accident). I find this one of the more
difficult concepts in Marx's theory, since some faux frais are an integral
element of the normal cost structure of a product, and others are not. A
short wiki I did is here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_frais_of_production The practical
impossibility of accurately splitting management tasks into productive and
non-productive functions applies to ALL forms of labour, insofar as (1) a
worker usually combines some productive and non-productive functions in his
work, and (2) everything depends on whether the results of the work actually
increase the value of capital assets or not. And you cannot establish that
from a statistical classification. At best it could be argued that in terms
of the "main activity" the function or job is normally productive or
non-productive.  The accounting concept of value added is based on the
notion of the "factors of production" and factor costs. Thus, in order to
establish the amount of new value added, we take the total sales volume for
an accounting period in constant prices, and deduct costs of goods &
services used up. This is actually a simplification (among other things
because a specific definition of "sales from production" is involved as well
as a specific grossing and netting procedure) but it is the basic idea.
But at best this is only an approximation to the value relations that
Marx talks about.

I don't find most of the Marxist discussion on productive labour useful,
because it is mainly based on ideological prejudices or philology, rather
than on a real analysis of the division of labour that actually exists.
Marx's critique of the concept of productive labour concerns precisely the
specifically capitalist division of labour, i.e. an allocation of functions
and tasks mainly oriented to the accumulation of private capital. However
this point is missed in almost all the literature on the topic, never mind
how all this works out in reality. At most labor-process theorists have
examined the division of labour within factories etc. There is endless
propaganda about the "efficiency of capitalism" in this respect, but little
evidence for it in an aggregate sense. Undoubtedly the profit-motive is a
strong stimulus to achieving efficiency in work tasks, but from the point of
view of society as a whole or from the point of view of human wellbeing, a
great deal of inefficiency can and does result.


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