Surplus value in C20.

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Tue Aug 29 23:48:07 MDT 1995


I'll make this brief. I've got to get some sleep and the Internet is
taking up far too much of my time.

 Adam Bandt wrote:

> Is the orthodox Marxist analysis of surplus value entirely adequate for
> describing what happens to the large section of the labouring population
> which exists in the non-industrial sector? Sure, one can pretty easily
> see how surplus is extracted from someone who works as a typist in a
> stockbroking firm, or as a cashier in a chicken shop, but is this surplus
> extracted in the method described in Capital Vol 1?

There is no such thing as a "orthodox Marxist analysis of surplus value."
I'll avoid orthodoxy -- a term that Marx would have cringed at to
describe people who followed his method and politics. The production of
surplus value doesn't only arise in the industrial sector, according to
Marx. The rest of your question above can be answered by examining a
rather lengthy exchange that we had recently on "productive and
unproductive labor." Check out the "marxism archives" -- sometime earlier
this month.

> To take the example of a cashier in a fast-food outlet: it seems the only
> way this can be rendered consistent is by treating the chicken sold as the
> final product, with all the labour invested in it at each stage of its
> production process (including the labour required to sell it) as the
> socially necessary labour required to produce that particluar product etc
> etc. Fine. But what about clerical work? Is there a defined product? Can
> it be rendered analagous?
>
> If I'm on the wrong track here, I'd appreciate some pointers.
>
I think you are on the wrong track.  Look for the wage labor-capital
relation  rather than the specific material nature of the commodity produced.
Clerical workers can be productive of surplus value or unproductive of
surplus value. There doesn't have to be a "defined product" as such for
there to be value and surplus value. Again, check out the "marxism
archives" on prod. vs. unprod. labor.

Time to go to sleep.

Jerry


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