Re: [OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Sat Jan 31 2009 - 05:44:30 EST

Paula wrote:
> but surely the distinction between 'basic' and 'non-basic' goods has
> to do with use-value, not value.

Indeed, the starting point is the role a use-value and its production
plays in the material reproduction of society. This has certain
consequences for the creation of surplus value in capitalist economies.

I note that you have a different perspective when you write "productive
of *value*", which in my opinion is not only quite different from Marx
and Smith but is unconvincing on its own basis because it rests on some
vaguely stated criteria. That criteria is a mistake in my view because
it rests on a *description* of the mystified form of appearance that
material products assume when produced as commodities.

Marx (and partly Smith) had a concern of what is productive of *surplus
value* not 'value' as such. My view is that any use-value produced by
social, and therefore abstract, labour has 'value'. Now both a Boeing
747 and an F-16 have labour-values, they fetch prices on the market and
yield profits for the firms that produce them. Both Boeing and Lockheed
Martin are "productive of value" in this sense.

But one has to look at the overall economy and not at the level of
individual firms to understand the deeper implications of the production
of Boeing 747s and F-16s if one wants to address the original Smithian
and Marxian concerns. Firstly, the production of F-16s is *unproductive
of relative surplus-value*, which is the main form of increase of
surplus value in capitalist economies. Secondly, it takes place entirely
by surplus produced in the basic sector which impedes real capital
accumulation and productivity growth there (and therefore also
production of relative surplus value). It is a *consumer* of the surplus
product. Producing Boeing 747s on the other hand does not have these
//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Sat Jan 31 05:46:24 2009

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