[OPE-L] commodities, services, & unproductive labour

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 17 Jan 1998 16:04:07 -0500 (EST)

Jurriaan wrote on Sat, 17 Jan:

> I am
> suggesting buying a ticket to an opera by Verdi or a rock concert by the
> Stones is not buying a commodity, but buying a CD featuring the Opera by
> Verdi or "Bridges to Babylon" is a commodity, [...]

How much of a difference is there between the labour of musicians,
actors, or even clowns?

"An actor, for example, or even a clown, according to this
definition, is a productive labourer if he works in the
service of a capitalist (an entrepreneur) to whom he returns
more labour than he receives from him in the form of wages;
while a jobbing tailor who comes to the capitalist's
house and patches his trousers for him, produces a mere
use-value for him, is an unproductive labourer. The former's
labour is exchanged with capital, the latter's with revenue.
The former's labour produces a surplus-value; in the latter's,
revenue is consumed". (_TSV_, Part I, Progress Publishers ed.,
p. 157).

If buying a ticket to see an actor or clown perform (when the actors
and clowns are employed by capital and produce surplus-value) can be the
act of purchasing a commodity, then why is the same not also the case for
buying a ticket to hear a Verdi opera performed or the Rolling Stones
perform (when the musicians are employed by capital and produce

In solidarity, Jerry