Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

Date: Thu Oct 28 2010 - 09:00:22 EDT

> A commodity is a good made for market exchange. It follows from
> this definition that a service, which is not a good, cannot be a commodity.
> I know you disagree with this, but as I've said you'll need to offer a
> coherent alternative.
Hi Paula:
I have already (repeatedly) done that. I will address that question again briefly
near the end of this post.
> If you're going to say that services too are
> commodities, then you have to include all services.
I said that services *CAN* be commodities, not that all of them are,
so your assertion is incorrect.

> Sure, insurance policies have exchange-value. But they are not commodities,
> are they.

They are not - because insurance is NOT PRODUCTION. Insurance, rather, concerns
the legal title and ownership of value and surplus value rather than the PRODUCTION
of value and surplus-value.
> > That is, your perspective leads one to believe in a
> > tendency for de-commodification under capitalism!
> Correct. Some authors speak of this tendency as 'dematerialization', but
> 'decommodification' is better, because of course services are material too,
> it's just that the product doesn't take the form of commodities.
In which case, Dave's questions (which followed my question) are pertinent.
If there is a long-term tendency for de-commoditification and, hence, a declining
rate and mass of surplus-value over time, then 'de-commodification' will lead to
the collapse of capitalism. Note, especially, that the rate of growth of services
is not simply a 'law ofs a tendency': rather, if what you are saying is true then
there are *absolute* laws for productive labor, the rate of surplus value and the
general rate of profit to decline. This, in addition to its theoretical problems,
runs counter to actual historical experience. All of this leads me to the conclusion
that you haven't really thought through the implications of your perspective.
> >There are several conditions which need to be met for service
> > labor (or ANY labor) to be productive of commodities and surplus-value.
> > They include:
> > - wage labor exchanged against capital;
> > - the labor must be production labor (i.e. actually engaged in production,
> > part of the production process);
> > - the service must produce surplus-value rather than merely be
> > concerned with legal title, including ownership, or sale of the commodity.
> The first condition is trivial for this discussion, since it's part of our
> assumptions. We're trying to find out which labor EMPLOYED BY CAPITAL
> produces surplus-value for capitalism as a whole. The second condition is
> vague,
That's almost identical to saying that 'production' is a vague concept.
If 'production' isn't vague, then we can identify labor which is engaged
in production (of commodities).
> the third is tautological.

It is a 'tautology' to refer to the difference between labor which produces
surplus-value vs. labor which is concerned merely with the legal title to
surplus-value and commodities? Once again, you show you don't understand
the meaning of tautologies. Worse that that - you make that claim as a way of
dismissing other perspectives rather than taking them seriously.
In solidarity, Jerry
ope mailing list
Received on Thu Oct 28 09:01:45 2010

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