[OPE-L:1302] Re: Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Mon Sep 20 1999 - 10:54:55 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: <zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Monday, September 20, 1999 8:42 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:1300] Re: Advertising and productive labour

> If it [a mortgage] is to be a commodity, where is ANY labor power involved
> the banking system as intermediary is abstracted from the question)
> whether productive or unproductive

I do not agree that there is no labour involved in producing a mortgage
package. And if, as is typical, that occurs under capitalist direct
production relations, it is in principle productive.

> and why does Marx eliminate the "C"
> from M-C-M' in such a case?

I am not really in a position to deal with exactly what Marx said, when or
why, adequately now, as that would involve revisiting the texts on the
issue. However, as I remember it, Marx is looking at the circuit of Money
capital in which there appears to be no explanation for M'>M. He then goes
on to trace the source of (M'-M) in the expenditure of labour under
capitalist direct product relations. In general he is concerned with labour
producing commodities other than any financial products, the employing
capital of which services their loan from money capital out of surplus
Imo, here as elsewhere, Marx mistakenly (in terms of the overall logic of
his own system)takes it that the doctrine that 'no value is created in
exchange' entails the position that labour, the demand for the output of
which (hence its use-value) derives from exchange (and so also financial)
activities, is unproductive. It is this 'mistake' that lies at the heart of
what I have been trying to argue in the course of the present discussion.

> The issue you are now introducing is the question of realization of
> surplus value, not the productive/unproductive distinction.

I rather think not. At the level of abstraction appropriate to the
(un)productive labour distinction, realization has been abstracted from.
However, imo, abstracting from contingent realization problems (however
systematically they are associated with the cyclical course of capitlaist
accumulation) still leaves us with a unity of production and realization:
'unrealized' surplus value cannot impact at all upon the system.
In response to your request, however, I was arguing by example, hence more
concretely: since the example of labour producing advertising services for
Coke has a use-value for whoever hires it or buys its products, and that
labour takes place under capitalist direct product relations, it is *in
principle* (indicating that this is indeed established at a higher level of
abstraction) productive.
Put otherwise, in response to a challenge from you I was offering a
plausible story underpinning the demand for the products of advertising
labour, and so the use-value of those products, adequate to argue that those
products either were commodities (or, in the in-house case, the advertising
labour was productive in contributing to the surplus value to be realised in
the value of the output - Coke).

Comradely ...,


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