Re: [OPE-L] domestic labor

From: Jerry Levy (jerry_levy@VERIZON.NET)
Date: Sun Jan 13 2008 - 13:38:15 EST

Since we (Phil and Dave) both agree that
    "Domestic service as unproductive labour is uncontested"
Then it makes no difference whether capitalists employ servants directly or buy their services from some capitalist firms.

Hi Dave Z:

I contest that claim.  There is nothing inherently unproductive
about domestic service.  If domestic servants are wage-workers
employed by a capitalist firm why is the activity unproductive?

Note that a significant amount of the customers of many domestic service capitalist firms are members of the working class. Indeed, changes in the gender composition of the waged-labour force have resulted in an marked increase in the amount of working-class families employing (especially, part-time) domestic servants.  Child-care firms also cater significantly to working-class consumers.  And, changes in life expectancy have resulted in the working-class elderly often (at least in the US) requiring home health care workers - a form of domestic labour.

And even if the customers weren't members of the working class why would the activity itself be unproductive?  If opera singers can be productive of surplus value if they are employed by capitalist firms why can't waged domestic servants employed by other capitalist firms also be productive of s?

In solidarity, Jerry

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