Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

From: Paul Cockshott <>
Date: Fri Oct 22 2010 - 02:58:10 EDT

I think one can see why marx considered retail unproductive and most marxists consider insurance unproductive by distinguishing use value production from the management of claims to use values. Selling and insuring do not increase real wealth in form of use values, they act to control claims of ownership over the use values already produced.

--- original message ---
From: "GERALD LEVY" <>
Subject: Re: [OPE] Reply to critics
Date: 22nd October 2010
Time: 1:52:17 am

> I [Paula] wrote:
> >> Jerry .... 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.>
> And Jerry replied:
> > Marx .... uses the former expression as
> > shorthand for the latter.>
> Says who? That's only your assumption, again. But if we drop it, other
> readings become possible.

Hi Paula:

Is there anyone else on the list who agrees with Paula's interpretation
of Marx's meaning concerning the expression 'produces a surplus value'?
If so, please speak up and explain why.

> Jerry also wrote:
> > Oh??? It's merely a 'tautology' to distinguish between the
> > production/creation of surplus value and it's realization???
> The tautology is to say that retail labour is unproductive because it
> realizes rather than creates surplus value. You're begging the question -
> why doesn't retail labor create surplus value in the first place?

I'm sorry, but that's running free and loose with the meaning of a

The labor of wage-workers employed in 'retail' is to SELL commodities.
Wage labor which produces commodities is not the same as wage-labor
which helps to sell commodities. This is not in the slightest bit a
tautology - it is a reality that arises from the nature of capitalist
production and commodity exchange.

> And the same thing applies to what labor employed by manufacturing capital
> and labor employed by insurance capital have in common - EVERYTHING except
> one produces physical goods, the other services. Ergo, here lies the
> difference between productive and unproductive labor (in the sense of
> 'un/productive of new value for capital as a whole').

LOL! yOu're not serious about the "ergo" ARE YOU?

> And this follows from the fact that a service is not a commodity. A service
> is only a use-value, which can be provided via a commodity, or directly by
> labor.

THAT is what is known as a tautology.

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Fri Oct 22 03:00:08 2010

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