Re: [OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Paula <>
Date: Tue Feb 17 2009 - 19:33:45 EST

Dave wrote:
> 2. Your concept of value in turn defined as "a material relation
> between people that takes the form of a social relation between
> *things*".
> 3. You justify this on the basis of Marx's writing.

Dave, you need to abandon this line of argument. If I quoted Marx on
commodity fetishism it was only because the quote follows logically from my
starting point, not because my starting point is the quote itself. I have
already explained what my starting point is - my view that social wealth
consists in produced objects, not just physical effects, so that haircuts,
dances, and shop workers' smiles, while useful, social and material, do not
constitute social wealth. The value of produced objects is then the specific
form this social wealth takes under capitalism.

> 5. The form of appearance of something is never its essence in Marx's
> terminology.

Precisely why we need the concept of productive labor. The objects' value is
the form of social wealth, its essence is the labor that produces it.

By 'productive labor' therefore I mean abstract labor, and my argument then
is that service labor is only concrete, not abstract. When services are sold
for a price they seem to have value, but they don't - think for example of
the services provided by a real estate agent. There's no such thing as the
'necessary amount of socially average labor-time' required to sell a
property, to perform a dance, to cut hair, or to greet customers as hey
enter the shop. There is no abstract labor involved and therefore no value

Jean Gadrey in his book New Economy, New Myth, points to a problem that
follows from this absence of abstract labor in the service sector (though he
doesn't himself identify the problem in such terms): "What do terms such as
'growth' and 'productivity gains' mean when applied to services such as
consultancy, education, health, social welfare, research or insurance? Where
are the standard product units that would make it possible to compare the
quantities produced over time?"

ie, where are objects, where are the commodities?


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Received on Tue Feb 17 19:35:42 2009

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