RE: Productive and Unproductive Labour

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM)
Mon, 2 Feb 98 18:55:18 UT

I agree with the sense of what Mike Williams demanded when he asked that
missing premises be supplied. I think that Fred's post of Thursday, January
22, 1998 11:35 AM goes a long way to meeting that demand.

However, I agree with Mike that turning circulation into production isn't the
issue. The issue is rather that circulation, which *is* indeed production,
isn't productive of *value*.

In Marx's theory, the value of an article is already determined when *it* is
produced. Production "involving" the article of course continues thereafter
-- the chicken is sold, I carry it home, I clean it, I bake it. Or, to use
Mike's subsequent example, the cash register is produced, sold, set up in the
store, used in check-out production that sells the chicken, which I carry home

So you see that the determination of value at the moment of production, at the
moment of sale, and the moment of consumption are all equally "arbitrary."
One is dividing a continuous temporal process in this way or that. Marx's way
of dividing it is to say that the chicken's value or the cash register's value
is determined when *it itself* is produced. This, of course, has important
theoretical consequences, among them for the p/u labor distinction. So the
issue is then the heuristic and explanatory power of alternative divisions,
not internal incoherence.

Andrew Kliman