Re: [OPE-L] Re: Productive and Unproductive Labour

Paul Cockshott (wpc@CS.STRATH.AC.UK)
Tue, 27 Jan 1998 16:04:20 +0000

Gerald Levy wrote:
> > The terms of trade for a country vary in proportion
> > to the changes in the mean labour time socially necessary to produce
> > commodities in a given country. As the amount of labour necessary to
> > produce things falls, that country's terms of trade improve.
> Using the above, if (a hypothetical) US-based corporations were to cease
> expenditures on advertising then SNLT _and_ the terms of trade would
> remain constant. I find that assertion about the terms of trade to be a
> bit far-fetched. If Coca-Cola and McDonald's didn't spend money on
> advertising, then they couldn't sell their commodities in the same
> quantities and at the same prices abroad. If we are going to look at the
> world market today, then we have to consider the role of advertising and
> product differentiation in oligopolistic markets (and many other variables
> as well, of course).
I think that you have come in in the middle of an exchange. I was
not talking about money spent in country B to advertise the products
of country A. I was talking about money spent, and thus labour time
used, within country A to sell products of country A internally.
Such expenditure is a deduction from accumulation and slows
down the improvement in productivity in country A.

By bringing in adverts of country A's products in country B,
you merely elevate the illusions of the individual capitalists
to the national level.

By the way, as far as I am aware neither Coca-cola nor Macdonalds
are significant US exporters. They source their products in the
country of sale. Their revenues to the US are pure rent on the
brand names.