Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

From: Paula <>
Date: Tue Oct 19 2010 - 18:47:03 EDT

Jerry wrote:
> Once you recognize that value has a temporal and spatial dimension
> then it ceases to be a logical puzzle and becomes a question of grasping
> how
> this process happens in practice.

That's compatible with what I'm saying. Sure, we need to recognize the
temporal dimension. But we also have to take into account the contradiction
between concrete and abstract labor - both of which are temporal processes,
of course.

> I'm not making an assumption here, I think. Rather, I'm making a deduction
> based on how it was written and it's consistency with other passages by
> the
> same author.

Jerry, you're most certainly making an assumption. You're assuming that
'produces a surplus-value' in the passage means 'produces a new
surplus-value for capital as a whole'. That's not how it's written. As for
consistency, the whole problem is that Marx is NOT consistent about his use
of the word 'productive'.

Please go back to the passage and try to read it with an open mind. Here it
is again as you posted it: "The former's labour (that of the actors or a
clown, JL) is exchanged with capital, the latter's (jobbing tailor, JL) with
revenue. The former's labour *produces a surplus-value*; in the latter's,
revenue is consumed".

The implication is that labor that is exchanged with capital *produces a
surplus-value*, but labor that is exchanged with revenue does not. But
here's the thing - the labor of workers in the banking, insurance, retail,
real estate sectors, etc (millions of workers in today's world) is exchanged
with capital, yet it only *produces a surplus-value* for the particular
employer, not for capital as a whole. So it's actually more coherent to
interpret *produces a surplus-value* in this passage as meaning 'for the
particular employer, but not necessarily for capital as a whole' - since the
only condition is that the labor is exchanged with capital.

> What makes the labor employed by 'retail' ... [unproductive] ... is that
> labor
> assists the realization of surplus value, not its creation.

This is a mere tautology. You'll need to dig deeper if you want to figure
out in what sense retail labor is unproductive, and why.

> Hence, the labor
> of actors or a clown employed by a capitalist firm really has nothing in
> common with the sectors you mentioned.

What they have in common is that neither produces commodities, which to my
understanding are goods produced for market exchange.


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Received on Tue Oct 19 18:57:51 2010

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