Quantifying Values (4): Juriaan's second query

Alan Freeman (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Fri, 16 Jan 1998 14:32:32 +0000

Juriaan (14 Jan second post) corrects his worry about paying unproductive
labour out of surplus value, in a statement I think was refreshingly frank
and quite illuminating: he says he meant that he cannot conceive of
unproductive labour being paid out of *currently-produced* surplus value.
In his first 14 Jan post he had written:

> What Shaikh and Tonak seem to imply in their input-output analysis is that
> unproductive workers are paid out of the trading margin...of the productive
> sector, in the same period of account. Thus the surplus product "is
> absorbed not only by the capitalist consumption and investments in the
> production sectors but also by all uses of the trading sector" I am only
> suggesting that the last sentence may be true, but not in the same period
> of account.

Yes, but surely the reason Shaikh and Tonak put this transfer in the
period is because they are simultaneists, not because of their view of
unproductive labour.

The same problem arises not just for unproductive workers' wages but
for *productive* workers' wages too. And for constant capital.

As Paul Davidson says "Time is a device for ensuring that everything does
not happen at once". If you don't have time, then everything does indeed
happen at once.

The difficulty arises from the systematic havoc that simultaneist
thinking wreaks on the simple logical principle that people consume stuff
after they make it and spend stuff after they get it.