[OPE-L:1311] Re: more re advertising and productive labour

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Tue Sep 21 1999 - 14:26:14 EDT

Good to see another participant, Paul Z and I seem to have argued to a
standstill (almost).
----- Original Message -----
From: michael a. lebowitz <mlebowit@sfu.ca>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 1999 10:09 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:1306] more re advertising and productive labour

> The problem I now see in this argument was made clear by Paul C's
> thought-experiment in which Pepsi and Coke both, by cartel agreement, cut
> their advertising budgets and profits increase by this difference. His
> premise, clearly, is that the advertising that is occurring does not lead
> to any increase in demand (ie that it is not creating a use-value for
> consumers where one was not previously present). Accordingly, these
> expenditures by definition are only the product of the competitive
> of capitals and the surplus value "wasted" on advertising warfare in
> another regime might be lost through price wars (until a cartel agreement
> ended that). His point is similar in this respect to Ajit's comment that
> values spent on protecting one's market share do not produce any use-value
> for the economy as a whole.

I too found Paul C's remarks thought-provoking, and I haven't yet finished
thinking about them. But, for now, there are many other activities
associated with commodity production that are wasteful duplication (from the
point of efficient valorisation) forced upon capitals by competition. But
this does not mean that the labour involved in them is not having surplus
value pumped out of it. It may well be, as a thought experiment, that
centrally planned rather than market-coordinated capitalism would be
capitalistically more efficient. But I doubt it could be a coherent
self-reproducing system. Capitalism is grounded in markets - so it is to
that that our categories must address themselves.

> On the other hand, I think this points to the problem in Michael's
> argument which, if I understand it correctly, states that advertising
> labour can be designated productive because capitalists will pay for it.

And it is performed under capitalist direct relations of production.

> Capitalists will find this particular labour a use-value in both cases
> above but only in one case could we argue that new use-values for
> have been produced as the result of this activity.

I do not see why productive labour has to produce a use-value *for (final)
consumers* - otherwise the labour producing cold-rolled steel (upon which
the workers cannot live, according to Joan Robinson) would be designated

Comradely ...,

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