[OPE-L:5632] labor process and R&D labor

Francisco P. Cipolla (cipolla@SOCIAIS.UFPR.BR)
Fri, 24 Oct 1997 10:10:27 -0300 (WDT)

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In rereading Chapter VII, vol. I of Capital (International publishers,
1967) I was led to think about the nature of R&D labor. Since R&D labor is
not labor directed towards the production of a pre-determined use-value it
cannot conserve the value of the means of production consumed. If the
value of the means of production can not be conserved because they are not
transformed into a new product then, as a consequence, the means of
production cannot play the role of absorbers of abstract labor. This would
imply that R&D labor is a purely social form of labor as it is only
concrete. This is a question of interest for the process of liberation
from abstract labor as a form of allienated labor. That is, the grwing
role of research and science from within the capitalist system is leading
to the development of forms of labor which, while still under the yoke of
the profit motive, point towards direct social labor.
Marx wrote about science in the Grundrisse but I don't recall seeing an
analysis of scientific labor from the point of view of the categories
developed in chapter VII of vol.I of Capital.
Paulo Cipolla