[OPE] Services and capital accumulation

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Tue Jan 13 2009 - 12:12:49 EST

I think that in Marx's critique of political economy, the concept of
"productive and unproductive labor" is a critical concept rather than a
positivist concept. Marx aims to say something about how productivity is
viewed in class hierarchies in general, and how it is viewed from the
standpoint of the specifically capitalist division of labor.

His main point is that what is "productive" for capital is not
necessarily "productive" for society or for human beings. That is why he
says sarcastically that it is a "misfortune" to be a productive worker
in capitalist society, because it means that you are exploited and a
source of exploitation by others. Capitalism does not organize
production primarily so that it is "most efficient", it organizes
production so that it "maximally facilitates the accumulation of private
capital through the extraction of surplus-value, and so that class
conflicts are kept within bounds".

Consequently, what is good for capital organizationally is not
necessarily at all good for the economy, or good for society, or good
for human beings. It could be, but not necessarily at all. The fact that
capitalism repeatedly generates crises endogenously, just means that
the laws of moneymaking repeatedly clash with the laws governing
societal reproduction.

Legal property claims I suppose could sometimes be purely symbolic
(fictio juris), but mostly they are not insofar as they are enforcible
and have real consequences for the allocation of resources. The
ownership of property and the power it gives also express "social
relations". Marx was quite aware of that, because he had studied law.

In mechanistic materialism, ideas are epiphenomena which lack causative
influence. But in a dialectical realism, ideas are no less "real" than
matter, and have real causal efficacy.


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Received on Tue Jan 13 12:14:44 2009

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