[OPE-L:1308] Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu
Date: Tue Sep 21 1999 - 08:45:04 EDT

On 09/21/99 at 09:24 AM, "Michael J Williams"
<michael@williamsmj.screaming.net> said:

>If one assumes there is no labour involved in producing something, then
>clearly there can be no (un)productive labour involved. It is clear to me
>that a Mortgage (even with no other banking facilities attached) does
>require labour to produce and deliver. It is clear to Paul Z. that it
>does not. If he is right, I will cash in my pension funds and set up
>(whoops, I'm performing some labour) an internet mortgage lending system
>and make my fortune with my virtual perpetual motion machine.

>Put another way, a Mortgage is a commodity produced by bank intermediary
>labour. So if you abstract from the latter, you abstract from the former.
>We can all agree that 'not-a-mortgage' doesn't require any labour to

The process of abstraction doesn't mean that by abstracting from "bank
intermediary labor" we must necessarily also abstract from "a Mortgage
being a commodity". Cf. abstracting from "wholesale" trade does not imply
that no trade takes place. In our case, Moneybags earns interest with
coupons received and the borrower pays. Abstracting from intermediation
only means to get to this relationship. Does this relationship, for you,
represent a commodity transaction?

>Sorry if this is a bit flippant, but for the moment I guess Paul Z and I
>will just have to agree to disagree. He has already chosen to leave to
>one side large chunks of my arguments to the conclusion that no coherent
>Marxist distinction between productive and unproductive labour under
>capitalism can be drawn on the basis of use-value considerations. In the
>language of the class ideological enemy, if there is (or can be
>generated) adequate demand for something, *whatever the basis of that
>demand*, some capitalist will employ labour to produce it, putatively
>extracting surplus value from that labour.

You report that "Paul Z....has already chosen to leave to one side large
chunks of my arguments". It is true that I have not replied to every
paragraph you wrote. I think we drew out our differences and basically I
think we are where we started and we'll have to continue to agree to
disagree. Many times we were not even on the same wave-length (or
crossroads)--particularly where you use "success" (a result) as a


Paul Zarembka, supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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