[OPE-L:1228] Re: Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Sep 15 1999 - 06:04:11 EDT

At 14:12 14/09/99 +0200, you wrote:
>I confess I think it is a mighty silly thing that people who say the labour
>exchanged against capital producing services are productive, commodity
>producing labour, also want to argue that labour involved in advertising,
>though exchanged against capital, is never productive. This seems to be
>more a personal prejudice, taste or predilection than rational economic
>In solidarity
 From the standpoint of the capitalist class as a whole, then the labour
spent on advertising and product differentiation is a clear loss.
In the UK 90% of washing powder comes from a couple of companies.
They spend huge amounts on tv advertising for what is in practice a
fixed market - people only use a certain amount of powder per year.
They dont decide to do lots more washes after seeing a persil advert.

The net effect is that in the stuggle for market share the two firms give up
a large portion of their surplus value to the advertisers. If they merged
and there was only one supplier then they could stop advertising, sell
at the same price and their profits would be higher.

The unproductive nature of advertising is not a matter of taste, it is
Failure to see this comes from looking at the issue from the standpoint
of one firm rather than the industry or economy as a whole.

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