Re: [OPE-L] "Levels of abstraction"

From: GERALD LEVY (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Jan 31 2008 - 09:21:15 EST

The whole dispute, to seems to me, revolves around the issue
of whether one accepts that the productive/unproductive 
distinction has basically the same meaning in all class societies
or whether it is specific to capitalism.  You claim that there is 
a trans-historical sense to the distinction which can be applied
to comprehending what is productive of surplus value under 
capitalism. If one doesn't accept that claim (which I don't) then 
it's hard to see how we could agree on these questions. 
What you call the 'historical materialist' approach may well
help us to comprehend the character of non-capitalist societies.
If comprehending the character and dynamic tendencies of 
capitalism was that simple, though,  then one wouldn't need to utilize 
the power of abstraction to disentangle what appears to be the
case from what it actually the case under capitalism. 
In solidarity, Jerry
> Jurriaan, you raise several points. Let's not go too fast ahead.> > To begin with the fundamental: The very notion of productive/unproductive> economic activities implies that the former is 'necessary' or 'basic' in> some specific economic sense since a fraction of its surplus support> supports the unproductive ones.> By definition, unproductive activities are a drain on the social surplus> product. An expanding unproductive sector of the economy must be supported> by more surplus labour in the productive sectors. These are all> historically invariant concepts, applicable to any mode of production, not> merely capitalism.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Feb 02 2008 - 00:00:05 EST