Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Sat Aug 27 20:10:40 MDT 1994

Dear Donna,

I agree with you that the issue of productive and unproductive
labor is an important one. But it is not th
nction of his
uv/ev analysis to delineate one from the other, as you seem to imply:

"In short, the so-called dialectic between exchange and
use-value not only says nothing about  the value productivity of all
factors of production but also further specifies which labor produces
surplus value "from the standpoint of bourgeois economy."  The use-value of
all labor power is not productive from the standpoint of  bourgeois

You read the entire passage as one consistent application of the same
logic. I read it as an initially correct application, followed by a
mistake. The correct application is the insight that "all commodities"
are the "opposite" to labor; the error is the assertion that the
essence of "all commodities" is labor. I have earlier cited Bose's
_Marx on Exploitation and Inequality_ on this: if you attempt to reduce
all commodities to labor, you are inevitably left with an irreducible
core of commodity inputs, which cannot be reduced to labor (equally,
you can go the reverse way, reducing all commodities to 99.999%
commodity inputs--but never being able to get rid of a fraction that
must be attributed solely to labor).

Marx's initial insight was thus correct--that all commodities are the
opposite, that you can't reduce the opposite of capital to just one
commodity. The error was to perform that reduction in the very next
paragraph--because labor-power is a commodity (though one with its
own dialectic).

Steve Keen


More information about the Marxism mailing list