On productive & unprod. labour

mauro.jr at iol.it mauro.jr at iol.it
Tue Sep 5 12:18:15 MDT 1995

Excuse me for the poor English. I would enter the discussion on productive
labour (Jerry, Paul...) for reminding two fundamental points made
by Charlie (Karl Marx):
1) the important (socially and politically meaningful) issue is (not
the individual labour but) the labour activity. In other terms, a
part from what John or Jane are specifically doing, which is the aim
of the labour process? which is the product of the work-process, whether
it exists?
2) On this base productive labour is the process which add a value
to the total (national or global capital). Thus, it is not enough
that a process lead to some good or service which is treated and meant
as a commodity (even the consultant gives a price to his more or less
stupid ideas and sell them as a “commodity”).
Thus again, if the software-house produces a real value (even in a
non-material shape), the credit system do not (be the unit a bank
or a fund).
3. Third not for importance: the "super-value" produced by a bank-employee
is immediately a supervalue for the bank-owners (shareholders or single
banker): the latters invested a capital (constant and variable) in
the credit service; employed several clerks for doing the labour which
has to be done, and got(get) a much larger sum of money selling their
"service" made by..,. the clerks.The credit activity is not adding
anything to the real richness of the society (of capital), i.e.the
banking does not produce "social super-value". It appropriates a quota
of the super-value produced elsewhere in the form of interest.
Thus if the clerks are not socially productive, this does not imply
that they are not exploited. Despite the differencies in the amount
of wages, a bank-clerk is exploited by the single improductive capital
as it is a sales-clerk of a supermerket or a produtive worker of General
The real (social and political) question is not wheter a specific
labour is socially productive or not, but wheter the man/woman who
does it is exploited or not.
Well, the working (exploited) class composition has changed deeply
during the last 20 years, due to the dramatic restructuring of the
production (actually due to the third technical revolution).
This has enormous implications in the outlininig of the revolutionary
perspective. And the communists should understand what happened in
the class composition and what this implies.
I'll post soon a english translation of the work by me (better, by
us, IBRP) on "the recomposition of the working class after restructuring".

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