Re: [OPE] Services and capital accumulation

From: Dave Zachariah <>
Date: Mon Jan 12 2009 - 16:19:42 EST


Please understand that my primary concern here is political economy not
the 'correct' interpretation of Marx's unfinished notes. At least you
admit that they are not fully consistent. If Darwinists had been
preoccupied with Darwin's notes, biology would not have moved one inch.
(Moreover, please spare us of your generalisations of 'Marxists' or
anyone else. These remarks do not encourage meaningful discussion.)

> In the Cockshott/Zachariah social ontology, what is "real" is physical
> production and social relations between people, while legal claims to
> property, and trade using money-tokens, are "ideal" or symbolic and
> not real.

That is a concise summary of my view. However, I think you misinterpret
it. Who would dispute that legal claims to property or money-tokens are
symbolic? That follows almost by definition. This does not suggest that
these symbolic objects are mere epiphenomena. Agents can exert real
power with them but only when they are backed by state power. Without
the latter they remain symbols without causal effects, as the ancient
money-tokens in your local museum will tell you.

The 'basic goods' criterion of productive labour is not yet another
interpretation of Marx, but we believe it can be inferred from some of
the theoretical concerns of Smith and Marx and is /pertinent to the
living standard of the working classes/.

 From Smith we have the concern for the total wealth of a society, i.e.
its bundle of use-values. Here one gets a notion of 'unproductive
consumption' of the surplus product that was characteristic of
feudalism. The surplus product is consumed in the form of luxuries
rather than reinvesting it in the form of real capital goods that
increase the productive capacity of the economy and thus the total
wealth of society.

 From Marx we have a concern for the reproduction of capital and surplus
value being a central part. Unproductive labour can certainly not
produce relative surplus value. However, producing relative surplus
value require that productivity is raised in the activities that
indirectly or directly enter into the real wage. All such labour is
surely considered productive on Marx's basis.

*If* both are of concern the 'basic goods' criterion addresses them and
forms a coherent theory of productive labour.

//Dave Z
ope mailing list
Received on Mon Jan 12 16:21:26 2009

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