Re: [OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Sat Mar 07 2009 - 08:43:43 EST

Paula wrote:
> What you (and some others) are missing is the fact that my definition
> of productive labor has nothing to do with how long the effects of
> labor last. If you get a very cool haircut and thanks to it you are
> successful in an audition and go on to become a famous movie star, the
> effects of the haircut might last you a whole lifetime. But this is
> all to do with use-value, not value.

Paula, I think you misunderstood Ian's point about "how long the
use-value lasts". The real problem lies in the fact that you have no
sharp distinction between producing 'goods' and 'services'. The only
possible one is that a 'service' is a use-value that is consumed in the
moment it is produced whereas a 'good' can last for some time after. If
this is the real distinction between goods and services, Ian is asking
why should the consumption time be the determinant of whether a
commodity has value or not?

> Dave: "Goods and services have economic value because they require
> expenditure of human labour."
> Ian: "But hairdressing labor exchanges for money. Money represents
> abstract labor, human labor-power divested of all its concrete
> manifestations."
> Both of the above views lead to the conclusion that all labor employed
> by capital is productive - since all of it is exchanged for money and
> all of it is an expenditure of human labor.

No, it does not follow *if* one's definition of 'productive' is related
to the production of surplus value (Marx) or the expansion of the real
capital stock (Smith). But that requires that one looks at the
reproduction of the entire economic system and not simply individual

> the whole discussion seems to be repeating itself, so I'm happy to
> stop here for a while.

Yes, I think I've said enough on the issue for now.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Sat Mar 7 08:49:20 2009

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