[OPE-L:1279] Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: Ajit Sinha (ajitsinha@lbsnaa.ernet.in)
Date: Sat Sep 18 1999 - 05:34:01 EDT

Paul Cockshott wrote:

> Yes the labour of producing Rolls Royces is certainly unproductive,
> as is all labour in department III ( labour that is devoted to capitalist
> luxury consumption ).
> This is shown most clearly by von Neumann and Sraffa, but it was also
> implicit in Marxs and Ricardos analysis of relative surplus value.
> The augmentation of surplus value in the economy as a whole depends
> upon the cheapening of the elements of workers consumption - provided
> that the working day is either fixed or declining. We know that in established
> capitalist economies the historical tendancy is for the working day to
> decline, production of surplus value, even its continuation, depends upon
> the production of relative surplus value. No relative surplus value can
> be produced in department 3 , hence all dept 3 labour is unproductive.


Actually, in my Ph.D dissertation (which paul Z supervised), I argued that if all
capitalist consumption can be declared to be output of department 3, and the labor
engaged in department 3 can be declared to be unproductive labor, then it can be
shown that in a Morishima type dynamic transformation problem both of Marx's
invariant conditions would be satisfied. You will no longer need to have von
Neumann's somewhat unrealistic assumption that all profits must be reinvested. But
I have refrained from publishing my "mathematical solution to the transformation
problem" because, on the one hand, though Marx declares such consumption as
unproductive consumption, he nowhere declares the labor producing luxury goods as
unproductive labor. So we will need to here somewhat extend Marx's argument to
classify labor spent in department 3 as unproductive. The second reason why I have
refrained from publishing my solution is that this, one way or the other, limits
the scope of value analysis. If we add all services as unproductive as well then
the value analysis will remain relevant for only a very limited segment of the
whole capitalist system, and so our critics may simply declare it to be irrelevant
for the analysis of capitalism as a whole. This is not to say that I agree with the
kind of arguments people have made in favor of services as productive labor. But I
do think that david laibman's position should be given a serious thought. Cheers,
ajit sinha

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