Persistence of value response to Mike William

Paul Cockshott (wpc@CS.STRATH.AC.UK)
Wed, 21 Jan 1998 13:06:47 -0000

> >For accumulation to take place, value has to
> > be corporeal, it has to be embodied in material objects which
> > persist over time.
> So you are saying that even if service labour is seen as productive,
> accumulation requires not just the deployment of a sufficient portion
> of new value to be invested, but that that value has to be corporeal.
> I cannot imagine why?
> -

Accumulation of capital is an instance of the accumulation
of value. Value can only accumulate if it persists through time.
It can only persist through time if it has some underlying material
form that lasts through time. You can accumulate value as money
only insofar as that money takes the form of gold or silver, which
by their nature are well suited to persist through time. No other
accumulation of money is an accumulation of value or of capital.
A growth of M1, the mass of banknotes and current accounts, is
merely a measure of the growth of a particular form of debt.
A growth in debt involves a zero accumulation of value and
thus of capital.

Unproductive services like advertising produce no persistent
material embodiment of value, and as such can not contribute
to the accumulation of capital. As such they differ from the
production of elements of constant capital.

How then does advertising differ from the production of
luxuries, since these too do not contribute to accumulation?

I think that the answer is:
Advertising is a cost born by firms rather than owners
of capital, as such it is a deduction from their profit
figures at the end of the year.

The collection of firms as a whole are left with no
tangible assets for their advertising expenditure. To
the extent that one firm gains market share thereby
another loses it. So for firms as a whole it is a net

Luxuries on the other hand are bought by the owners of
capital out of their personal incomes. They are a purchase
out of revenue, which has already ceased to be part of
the capital assets of the company sector.

Luxuries contribute directly to the wellbeing of the
rentier class as a whole. Prior expenditure on advertising
by the firms from which they get their dividends contributes
nothing to their wellbeing, or to their capital.