RE: [OPE] "Parasitism"

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Sat Jan 31 2009 - 09:25:58 EST

This seems confused. value is not really produced.
Use value is certainly produced.
 <> But Labour Value is the cost to society of producing something.
Something has labour value if labour has been expended to produce it.
But that only says that it is a cost to society.
The issue of whether labour is productive or not can not be separated from the concrete character of the labour performed and its role in the total process of social reproduction.
Labour is unproductive if ( and this is not an exhaustive list ):

        It is concerned only with reproducing claims to the social product: banking, pension fund clerks, tax inspectors, much police work.
        It serves only to reproduce the ideological conditions of social domination : priests.
        It is part of a zero sum game among the propertied classes : gambling, stock exchange trading, advertising, military competion.
        It is part of the luxury consumption of the propertied classes rather than the process of accumulation real capital.

Paul Cockshott
Dept of Computing Science
University of Glasgow
+44 141 330 1629


From: on behalf of Paula
Sent: Sat 1/31/2009 1:24 AM
To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
Subject: Re: [OPE] "Parasitism"

Dave wrote:
> Armaments are produced by social labour and have therefore labour-value.
> When sold as commodities they tend to fetch a price proportional to their
> labour-values and yield a profit for the firms that produce them. However,
> if one stops at this level of analysis one cannot see the fundamentally
> parasitic nature of the arms industry on the rest of the economy:
> It lives off entirely from the surplus labour pumped out from the workers
> in the basic sector, and it impedes the growth of the real capital stock
> and of productivity. In this sense it is completely analogous to the
> parasitism of the financial sector.

Dave, you seem to be saying that the armaments sector is unproductive (of
value), but surely the distinction between 'basic' and 'non-basic' goods has
to do with use-value, not value. Is an airplane a 'basic good'? Does an
airplane contain value only if it is sold to a commercial airline, but not
if it's sold to a military? This would be drawing the line between
productive and unproductive on the basis of use-value.


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