[Marxism] For Karl Marx, writers of romance novels are productiveworkers

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 25 10:39:24 MST 2016

On 1/25/16 12:30 PM, jamie pitman via Marxism wrote:
> Dobb, for my money, completely misinterprets subsumption (or
> ‘subordination’ in his Studies), putting it in a historicist, stagist
> frame. I would argue its precisely not this (i.e. a periodisation),
> which is what most Marxist schools of thought have traditionally
> argued. If you read the Results carefully, Marx claims that real
> subsumption in one place/ sector will inaugurate formal subsumption
> elsewhere. Massimiliano Tomba writes well about this in his book, the
> name of which escapes me for now. But if you reject the
> methodological nationalism of Brenner then this is the way forward
> when thinking through subsumption – formal and real (hybrid and ideal
> are further sub-categories, btw) in a complex interplay at the level
> of a global pool of surplus value.

As I stated in my article, this was pretty much Marx's view:

I think that Marx probably understood that there is no Chinese wall 
between the creation of absolute and relative surplus value as he 
pointed out in chapter 16 of V. 1 of Capital that is titled “Absolute 
and Relative Surplus-Value”:

 From one standpoint, any distinction between absolute and relative 
surplus-value appears illusory. Relative surplus-value is absolute, 
since it compels the absolute prolongation of the working-day beyond the 
labour-time necessary to the existence of the labourer himself. Absolute 
surplus-value is relative, since it makes necessary such a development 
of the productiveness of labour, as will allow of the necessary 
labour-time being confined to a portion of the working-day. But if we 
keep in mind the behaviour of surplus-value, this appearance of identity 
vanishes. Once the capitalist mode of production is established and 
become general, the difference between absolute and relative 
surplus-value makes itself felt, whenever there is a question of raising 
the rate of surplus-value. Assuming that labour-power is paid for at its 
value, we are confronted by this alternative: given the productiveness 
of labour and its normal intensity, the rate of surplus-value can be 
raised only by the actual prolongation of the working-day; on the other 
hand, given the length of the working-day, that rise can be effected 
only by a change in the relative magnitudes of the components of the 
working-day, viz., necessary labour and surplus-labour; a change which, 
if the wages are not to fall below the value of labour-power, 
presupposes a change either in the productiveness or in the intensity of 
the labour.

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