RE: [OPE] Services (->Paula)

Date: Sun Jan 11 2009 - 08:20:35 EST

> Barbering labor produces a service, a > use-value, but not a value. And this remains the case when the barber is > employed for a profit (as some barbers, many hairdressers, manicurists, etc, > are today).
Hi Paula:
Teaching is also a service. You don't think that teachers who are wage-
workers and employed by capitalists for profit are productive laborers?
> Paul C. mentioned advertising labor - a good example. Certainly this labor > 1) 'produces' a material product - eg advertising images, jingles, slogans; > 2) 'produces' services that are useful to different social classes - eg > information, entertainment, publicity; and 3) 'produces' profits for the > advertising agency. Advertising labor is 'productive' in all these senses - > but is it productive of value? I don't think so, and most Marxists don't > think so. Why not? If we can answer this question properly, we'll figure out > what productive labor is, and whether or not so-called service labor is > productive.
The answer is that advertising labor does not *create* surplus value;
its use-value to capitalists rather concerns its importance in *realizing*
> If advertising labor is unproductive, then 'the social relation' can't > possibly be the decisive factor, if by 'social relation' we mean 'employed > by capital for profit'.
The 'social relation' is more than simply 'employed by capital for profit'.
It also concerns whether the particular form of labor (wage-labor) and
whether that labor _creates_ surplus value.
> If it's necessary then it's concrete, not abstract - it produces use-values, > but what we are discussing here is the production of value, which is a > different matter.
But, value production _incorporates_ necessity: SNLT. So, when you say
that "if it's necessary, then it's concrete, not abstract", then I disagree.
Strictly speaking, if what you say is true then abstract labor, value,
and surplus value could not exist.
> As Jerry would say, let's worry about our own definition, not Marx's - we > have no choice anyway, because Marx's writings on this are confusing and, at > least on the surface, contradictory. My view is that it *does* matter > whether or not "material objects" are produced, since abstract labor must be > embodied in commodities that, regardless of their use-value, are > exchangeable with each other on the market, and therefore have an objective > existence between the moment of production and the moment of consumption.
Then, make a case - independently of what Marx write - for why abstract
labor must be "embodied" in commodities.
I think you also need to consider the meaning more of "objective existence".
When I have a haircut - which, btw, might be seen as socially necessary -
if placed within the context of a particular *culture* - the barberer, the
barber's tools, and the haircut itself all have an objective existence. If I
want to see the objective existence, all I have to do is look at the floor and
see the hair which was cut. It sure didn't get there by magic!
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Jan 11 08:25:34 2009

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