[OPE-L:5619] OPE-L--RE: Marx & advertising

Michael_A._Lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Sat, 18 Oct 1997 02:24:03 -0800 (PST)

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In message Tue, 14 Oct 1997 10:58:51 -0500,
Tony Smith <tonys@iastate.edu> writes:

> In answer to Jerry's questions, I don't know of any places where Marx
> discussed advertising. But the topic seems to have a natural place in the
> architectonic in the Volume II discussion of circulation time, circulation
> costs, and turnover time. Anything that allows capital to pass through
> the C'-M' stage of the capital circuit at a faster rate aids the
> accumulation process, and advertising is designed to do just that.
> Tony Smith

Apologies to all I owe responses, but I couldn't resist commenting before
running off to Budapest in a few hours. I agree that what appears most
consistent with Marx's discussion is to look at advertising as a device that
reduces time of circulation and that insofar as any costs incurred are less
than the savings from more rapid turnover, the result will be to increase
the annual surplus value and reduce the total capital advanced.
Let me float another idea, however. Once we recognise the distinction
between a product and a commodity, doesn't that permit us to look at modern
advertising insofar as it produces a desire for particular use-values (ie.,
helps make them use-values) as part of the process of producing commodities?
(After all, the emperor's new clothes were a commodity.) That's all I have
time to say now but hopefully the discussion will be still going when I get
back to a computer in 10 days or so.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Office (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 872-0494; Home fax: (604) 872-0485
Lasqueti Island (250) 333-8810