Theory and practice

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Tue Aug 15 07:02:53 MDT 1995


At 11:33 PM 8/14/95, Paul Cockshott wrote:

>In a sense yes, but the question then arises why some forms of
>labour are associated with a money payment and others not.
>It is not the material form of the labour that is determinant.
>The work of a subordinate family member on a peasant farm does
>not differ from that of a hired hand in material terms, but there
>is no money payment in the former. Why?
>
>Delphi argues that it is a case of the social formation containing
>two distinct modes of production, the domestic and the capitalist,
>each with their own specific production relations and form of
>surplus extraction. Her analysis is that women/wifes are an exploited
>class under the domestic mode of production along with other
>subordinate family members.

I agree with this entirely. I was merely pointing out why it is that
domestic/household activity isn't included in national accounts. It's not
because the national accountants are devaluing the work of women; it's
because societies have organized such labor outside the money economy.
There's a great difference between social relations governed by money and
those governed by more direct means of coercion. For this and other
reasons, I think attempts to impute money values to domestic labor (or the
environment) to incorporate them in the national accounts are very wrong.

Of course lots of previously domestic labor has been marketized over the
years, but that's another story.

Doug

--

Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
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