[OPE-L:1404] Re: Re: Still more on advertising and productive labour

Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 22:05:55 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: Jurriaan Bendien <djjb99@worldonline.nl>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Saturday, October 02, 1999 6:17 PM
Subject: [OPE-L:1403] Re: Still more on advertising and productive labour

In all significant respects, I think that J.'s summary is excellent.

> Maybe I am mistaken, but I thought it was totally obvious to the point of
> being a platitude that a real capitalist economy cannot be indifferent to
> use-values.

It is. You have quoted my opening remark, but not the argument that
followed, to the conclusion that technical indispensibility of the use-value
of the output is niether a necessary nor sufficient condition for the labour
concerned to be productive. It is that technical relevance of use-values
that is captured in Sraffa type models,

> Indeed, my understanding is that Marx's Capital Vol. 2 is in
> good part devoted to this very point, since it raises the question how
> different classes of goods can be produced distributed and traded in
> proportions such that a relative equilibrium and expanded reproduction can
> result. In the real world this is not an automatic process and hence firms
> cannot be indifferent to it, even though they do not control the
> and distribution process overall (for that you would need a planned

I would only gloss this a little: capital is indifferent to the use-value
composition of output. it is just seeking profits. Individual capitalists
qua character-masks are thus also indifferent.

> So the system is not indifferent to the kinds of use-values being
> but profoundly influenced in its very functioning by those use-values.

I have already dealt with this: relevance of use-value for capitalist
reproduction is an important issue. But it is not what the (un)productive
labour distinction is about.


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