[OPE-L:1337] Re: Re: more re advertising and productive labour

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Fri Sep 24 1999 - 06:24:35 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Cockshott <wpc@dcs.gla.ac.uk>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 1999 11:00 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:1330] Re: more re advertising and productive labour

> You have the sign wrong here.
> The use value of commodities consists in the ability to satisfy peoples
> The effect of advertising is to increase peoples wants, so advertising has
> negative use value.

This remark by Paul highlights the nub of the question. I cannot see how we
can read it except in the light of a hierarchy of use-values as being more
or less desirable in some general, ahistorical, human terms. The point
about capitalism, dominated by the value-form, is that its imperatives are
towards the expansion of *value*. It is quite indifferent to the use-values
that its commodities must have in order for them to indeed be commodities -
just so they have *some* use-value. Advertising that successfully increases
peoples wants (or their intensity) is precisely highly useful for this
value-form system. But that is not the basis of the productivity of
advertising wage-labour, which rests only on the two facts that it is
performed under capitlaist direct production relations and issues in a
commodity (that must have, of course a use-value). That advertising
increases peoples wants is part of the explanation as to why it has a
use-value for those who buy it - e.g. the marketting department of Coke
Corp. It can be said to have a negative use-value only by comparison with
some other, more rational, more humane system. And that kind of critique
(valuable as it is) is not what the (un)productive labour distinction is

Comradely ...,


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