The MIM Debate Reply

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Wed Oct 11 07:32:24 MDT 1995



 > >
 > > I can supply quotes from Capital for consideration, but the issue has
 > > been ventilated on this list before.
 >
 > Pat for MIM replies: I will check the thread I came in on, but if
 > you have others you think I should read, let me know.

This is the question of the specialised use by Marx and followers of the
concept of

"unproductive labour"


I recommend to all "A Dictionary of Marxist Thought" Edited by Tom
Bottomore, Blackwell, Oxford England, Cambridge Mass. 2nd Edition 1991.

It has helped me rapidly engage with some issues and is a good balance
between the authoritative and the undoctrinaire. Also helps you check sources
yourself.

So, as promised:

Capital Vol 1,

Third para of Part V "The Production of Absolute and of Relative Surplus
Value".

"On the other hand, however, our notion of productive labour becomes
narrowed. Capitalist production is not merely the production of
commodities, it is essentially the production of surplus value....
The labourer alone is productive, who produces surplus-value for the
capitalist, and thus works for the self expansion of capital. If we
may take an example from outside the sphere of production of material
objects, a schoolmaster is a productive labourer, when in addition to
belabouring the heads of his scholars, he works like a horse to enrich
the school proprietor."

Chris B. London


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