Re: (OPE-L) Re: Dynamic value and natural price

From: Philip Dunn (pscumnud@DIRCON.CO.UK)
Date: Thu Nov 06 2003 - 08:38:02 EST

Quoting gerald_a_levy <gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM>:

> All private sector labor is not engaged in production.  Are security guards
> in a factory 'productive'?   Their function is to prevent the theft of
> value.  How are corporate lawyers productive of surplus value?   Their
> function is to represent the interests of individual capital in
> state-related matters.  If money is paid out as wages for endorsements
> by celebrities for marketing purposes, how is that activity productive of
> surplus value? Some of these expenses might be viewed as *faux frais* --
> but some of them are very far from being 'incidental' expenses.
> In discussing *frau frais de production* in "Results of the Immediate
> Process of Production" , Marx makes an interesting assertion that we may
> or may not agree with:
> "Further examples are legal proceedings, contractual agreements, etc.  All
> matters of this sort are concerned with stipulations between commodity
> owners as buyers and sellers of goods, and have nothing to do with the
> relations between capital and labour.  THOSE ENGAGED IN THEM
> (Volume 1, Penguin ed., p. 1043, emphasis added, JL)
> (This subject is also discussed in Volume II, Ch. 6 "The Costs of
> Circulation".)
> > Whereever there is profit there is productive labour.
> Profit can be _transferred_ from one capitalist to another through
> rent even where the recipient of the transfer does not employ wage labor
> -- let alone productive labor.  E.g. the profit can be transferred directly
> into the bank account of another capitalist.
> In solidarity, Jerry

Hi Jerry

What worries me is the mixed bag of criteria for deciding whether employees are
engaged in production or not. What is it about these criteria that makes them
criteria for deciding whether labour is productive or not?  I think that the
relevent sense of production here is surplus money-labour-value production.
For that, it is enough to be on the payroll in order to be productive.  I heard
somewhere (probably on this list) that a boss of US Steel once said 'US Steel
does not make steel, it makes money'.  If, in its money making, US Steel sees
fit to employ security guards or corpoate lawyers, that's good enough for me.


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