Re: [OPE] Reply to critics

From: Paula <>
Date: Wed Nov 10 2010 - 17:28:04 EST

Jerry wrote:
> Well, I think your claim that services can not be commodities is chock
> full of unexamined assumptions and circular reasoning

If we want to examine those assumptions and escape circular reasoning we
need to, eg, be able to explain the case of the insurance industry in a
satisfactory way.

> but if we haven't
> made progress in exposing those assumptions/circular reasoning to
> the other yet then I don't think we're going to.

You're probably right, so I agree to stop here. But the rise of the service
economy is one of the most important economic trends of recent times, it
deserves our attention and a better discussion than we've had here.

> I have pointed you to
> some literature which explains this matter in greater depth. What
> literature from your perspective can you point me towards?

The view that services are unproductive goes back to Adam Smith and I
believe also to Karl Marx, though of course other interpretations are
possible. I'm not aware of any important, recent literature that develops
this perspective further. The tendency in mainstream economics has been to
blur the distinction between goods and services and to consider all of them
equally as 'products', and it seems that Marxists are following along this
route to a greater or lesser degree. This is all what we'd expect in an
economy increasingly dominated by services.


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Received on Wed Nov 10 17:31:43 2010

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