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 Post subject: The value of productive labor vs non productive
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 12:24 pm 
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Just recently found this article that talks about the contrast between productive and non-productive labor. Not sure if it exactly falls under theory, but I think it's a great case study of how power truly lies in the hands of the working class, if only they unite to seize it. Not only that, but how absolutely useless bankers and the like are to the economy.

http://evonomics.com/why-garbage-men-sh ... n-bankers/


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 Post subject: Re: The value of productive labor vs non productive
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 4:02 pm 
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It is worth pointing out that garbage men, janitors, teachers, doctors, and a wide host of other professions are consider unproductive labourers in the Marxist sense of the word.

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 Post subject: Re: The value of productive labor vs non productive
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Bankers were fairly important to the economy, if that was the question.

Marx did refer to schools as 'teaching factories,' and generally seemed disgruntled with them personally, an attitude that De Leon ended up sharing. They were essentially paid to serve capital, and the system had at its end integration into the capitalist system, in which sense teachers generally required a significant degree of incorporation into the capitalist system to represent it vis-a-vis the students, who were not so incorporated and had to be mostly only by the teachers. In that sense they were in a sense an active part of the economic system, deriving their authority from capital and hence exercising it in accordance with capital, who could therefore be rewarded by being incorporated into the form of 'value.' In this sense people's confrontation with capital as a system could begin from an early period.

Marx did tend to focus a bit much on how capital can incorporate various forms of labour, rather than on the things which it could not. A fairly straightforward and 'neutral' example of something that capital couldn't fully incorporate, which was generally swathed in a sense of mysticism, was alchemy, which attempted to directly interact with and undermine the economy in many ways, and hence was likely to be opposed whether or not it was valid. In addition, of course, certain games with given rules, etc., were not something that capital could bend to its own purposes, and hence they would have to remain obscure or unpracticed past a certain levels.

Marx generally tried to focus on 'unproductive labour' as occasionally relevant to circulation, etc. - coincidentally Volume 2, dealing with circulation, is generally the one with the least notable focii, despite its concerning circulation - and in that sense some of those professions (where, owing to a division of labour, opportunities for self-expression were limited and hence people were moulded into automated actors or machines - but this applies to all fields of capitalist production, where the individual does not count for much and if they do come into an antagonism with this system from the beginning), being 'unproductive' might be treated as a bit of an obscure case. Obviously, some of them do have general functions in a way, such as garbage collecting, which are of course merely mechanical actions, and hence tend to be considered somewhat external to the capitalist system, but are nonetheless considered in a sense important or economically relevant - the Soviet Union might be identified with such professions, where the particular role and the state in a sense meet, although in a limited and unresolved form -, and frequently they do have an economic purpose which isn't merely transferring commodities from one place to another.

'Unproductive labour' is something which Marx mostly focusses on in terms of contingent or unnecessary labour, such as that more transport may be needed to bring goods of a given type into England from the US than if they were merely from this - in this sense, 'multinationals' were problematic, in that while a firm of sufficient size would necessarily seek to expand because of its nature - and this was necessary to not leave certain countries without clear incorporation into the system -, at the same time through this they are risking unproductive labour or the need to transfer things and so on between many different countries, which would continually construct obstacles to profits which would not exist on a local level (of course, they wouldn't continue to exist on that, either.) These forms of 'unproductive' labour' could mask over certain issues in the system temporarily, for instance by arbitrarily 'creating jobs,' via spending or otherwise, but this was of course in a manner inimical to the economy - it is spending which contributes minimally to profits - and hence would ultimately be undermined.

The article is problematic in some ways, and has some holes. For instance, what labour is 'productive' cannot be derived from a strike, which is by nature only temporary. Their form of labour is still a part of the social organism, and hence others will not do it or attempt to compensate for their not being there, which will mean that it may just seem catastrophic because there is no attempt to make up for the actions of a part of the social organism as it is assumed - in a strike - that they will return. While it is unlikely that bankers would go on a 'strike,' they were obviously quite significant to the economy, and if they were not compensated for would of course be a problem for a capitalist nation, because it would lack investment. While one may have questioned, to paraphrase the band Sharks Don't Swim, what the banker does at night-time and what he does when no-one is around - presumably such worshippers of money for its own sake would not be averse to what money can buy, so that implications of prostitution are perfectly valid -, obviously society could compensate for the bankers or the workers, but will generally not. Of course, bankers 'striking' would also be problematic because they do not face the state as a higher authority in the economic realm, and they will be loathe to leave a country outside of their influence unless they are forced.

It does mostly seem to rest on a fairly undeveloped contrast between use-value - social wealth - and value - redistributing 'wealth' - conceived as exchange-value or as merely exchanged use-values, and in that sense while it is going in a decent direction is still very undeveloped and accessible in its viewpoint.

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