[OPE-L:1223] Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: Jurriaan Bendien (djjb99@worldonline.nl)
Date: Tue Sep 14 1999 - 14:06:48 EDT

Jerry wrote:
>a) advertising labor does not create surplus value, rather it can lead to
>the realization of surplus value for capitalists.

I agree it can lead to realisation, but I do not agree advertising labour
is by definition unproductive under capitalism. Advertising labour produces
products just like other kinds of labour, and this labour can be fully
subsumed under capital. End of story !

>b) for the value that was created in an "ideal" sense in production to
>become "real" and "actual", the products must be sold in the marketplace.
>In other words, the use-value which was *presumed* to exist by capitalists
>prior to exchange must be shown to *actually* exist.

Well maybe I have a different concept of the substance and form of value. I
take your point, which is neglected by many Marxists in their crisis
theories (the fact that goods have to be sold for surplus-value to be
realised as profits), but I think value is not created "ideally" in
production, but objectively.

 Until the product is
>sold, therefore, it is only a commodity in an ideal sense (in the sense
>that the product was produced with the intention of exchange).

I disagree. I think it is a commodity from the point of its complete
production (except in production processes where the product can be sold
without needing to be completely finished) to the point of final sale and
consumption. If you study capitalist production processes you will see this
is true. A capitalist does not think, "I enjoy producing this product,
let's produce it and then see if we can sell it for a profit". That is a
petty-bourgeois view of things.

For it to
>actually *be* a commodity, it must have use-value, exchange-value, and
>value. Yet this can not be known with certainty *unless and until* it is

You might wish to consider this quote from the late Prof. Mandel, arguing
against Prof. Morishima: "Labour expended in the production of a given
commodity, but not recognised by society, is not productive of value for
the owner of that commodity. However, precisely because value and the
production of value refer ultimately to the distribution and redistribution
of the total available labour-power of society engaged in production, that
macro-economic aggregate is a basic economic reality, a basic 'fact of
life'. If five million workers work 2,000 hours a year in material
production, the total value product is ten billion hours, indpendently of
whether the socially recognised value of each individual commodity is equal
to, or larger or smaller than, the actual number of labour hours expended
in its production". (Cap Vol 2, Penguin, p. 39).

>c) From an individual capitalist perspective, advertising is crucially
>important for profitability. This is the case because the capitalist knows
>that her/his bottom line depends not only on the creation of value and
>surplus value (of course, capitalists wouldn't tend to express themselves
>in this way), but also on sales (the "realization/actualization" of
>surplus value).


Indeed, from a managerial perspective, sales are as
>important as production. Even though this is the case, this does not
>speak to the distinction between productive and unproductive labour.

Maybe I am dumb, but I fail to see the point your are making here.

In solidarity


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