Re: [OPE] Services (->Paula)

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Tue Jan 06 2009 - 04:59:48 EST

Paula wrote:
> The distinction that we are interested in, however, is that between
> useful labor (which produces use-values or utilities, as above) and
> abstract labor (which produces value, and therefore, in normal
> circumstances, surplus-value). What is value, then, and what is this
> abstract labor that produces it? My answer derives from Marx's notion
> of commodity fetishism - that value is a material relation between
> people that takes the form of a social relation between things. Now,
> while every relation between people is material, we are here only
> concerned with one kind of relation - the production of material
> objects for others in their most simple form, ie, abstracted from
> their practical utility. This is the only kind of material relation
> between people that, under capitalism, takes the form of a value
> relation between things.
> It follows that the labor that produces razors for a capitalist is
> productive of value, but the labor of the barber is not, even if it
> might be productive of profits - all this regardless of who uses the
> razor's or the barber's services, whether a worker or a capitalist;
> and regardless also of the quality of those services, etc. The merit
> of this approach is that it corresponds to the aim of capitalist
> production - not the provision of concrete services to society but the
> accumulation of material wealth /per se/.
 These are relatively non-controversial examples.
Try instead looking at the labour in the Aldermaston atomic weapons
factory, is that productive or not?
What about the labour of the staff of an advertising agency?
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Received on Tue Jan 6 05:04:48 2009

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