[OPE-L:1345] Re: Re: more re advertising and productive labour

From: Michael J Williams (michael@williamsmj.screaming.net)
Date: Sat Sep 25 1999 - 05:08:55 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Levy <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 12:34 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:1342] Re: more re advertising and productive labour

> advertising labor
> ... does not produce commodities and surplus value
> but rather sells commodities and realizes surplus value.

This, or course, is what I do not agree with. Perhaps we can hone things
down a bit if we can agree that commodites in principle embody surplus
value? Under the conditions specified, the advertising labour, imo, produces
a service in the commodity form. The fact that the demand for that service
is generated by processes of selling and 'realising', that, we agree, cannot
create new value, is to me, not germane. Those processes involve the
*consumption* of the advertising services produced. My consumption of a
chicken leg doesn't create new value either, but that does not make chicken
producing labour unproductive!
> In what sense is advertising labor engaged in *production*?
> Lawyers, supervisors, and accountants perform a use-value for
> capitalists. That labor also has an exchange value (otherwise capitalists
> wouldn't pay their salaries). Yet, this does not mean that the labor
> performed by these groups is creative of value.

If it is performed under capitalist direct production relations, I have yet
to hear a convincing argument why not. Incidently, you will not be surprised
to learn that, imo, their labour (actually 'labour power') does not have an
exchange value - the commodity service that it produces does.

> Actually, advertising labor logically precedes the act of exchange. That
> is, it happens prior to the generation of additional "demands". It
> therefore has a use-value to capitalists (agreed) -- the potential to
> increase the "demands" for the commodity output. Yet, what is that output?
> It is not the advertising itself. Rather, the output consists of the
> commodities sold with the assistance of advertising labor.

We are again skipping back and forth between the demand generated for the
advertising services, and the (additional) demand for the advertised product
generated by the advertising services. The second provides the rationale for
the first's use-value to the capitlaist. The real time sequence doesn't
matter. Both are on-going processes, and use-value generated by expectations
of a desired outcome is still use-value.
> So labor performed at banks is "potentially productive" of surplus value?

Imo, yes. Even if, as I did, we restrict its functions to setting up credit
lines. Of coure, as Jurriaan mentioned, it also produces a host of other
banking services.


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