[OPE-L:852] Simon's post: productive and unproductive labour

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Thu, 25 Jan 1996 19:38:47 -0800

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Second point about Simon's post which shouldn't
go unnoticed: I agree that the distinction between
productive and unproductive labour is essential.

He asks an interesting question which whether it can
be understood and assessed independently of whether
there is equal exchange or not.

I think this may belong to a later stage of the discussion
but one point maybe merits attention if we want this
later stage to be constructive, namely the following
remark of Simon's:"there is not much consensus about it".

I'm not sure that consensus is the appropriate word. You
can take almost any term in Marxism and find four hundred
different views on it among the first two hundred marxists
you approach, but this doesn't tell you very much, and it
is unhelpful if it is used as a reason for everyone to
set up their own school at the drop of a hat.

The real question, it seems to me, is does there exist a
body/bodies of scholarly, well-researched and documented
work on the question which we can take as starting point
for further enquiry?

My view is there undoubtedly and decisively does: it is the
work of Anwar Shaikh and Ahmed Tonak on the one hand, and
Fred Moseley on the other. I think the responsible way to
get into an informed discussion of this topic would be for
OPE to study their work.

Or better still, maybe one of them could prepare such
a discussion for later in the life of OPE?