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Immaterial services and material commodities.

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by revol68, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    The process of abstraction is necessarily mental, twit. Unless you'd care to show me what a material act of abstraction looks like?

    Perhaps you mean that this mental process has material results?

    There really isn't much point is asserting that I am ignorant, you know I am not.

    What do you think labor-power is? It isn't limited to acts of labor carried out in the process of production is it?

    Or do you think that it is? Let's dispose of that illusion first if so.
  2. love detective

    love detective secret pint

    i genuinely believe that you are ignorant - i used to think you were not and were just being contrary for something to do when you're bored, but your latest postings have convinced me it's more simple than that, and that you are just actually ignorant of what you talk

    and you should get your terminology right - labour power is a commodity that is exchanged against capital - it has a use value which is labour activity that is productively consumed within the production process and is capable of producing value, and indeed produce more value than it itself possesses in its form as the commodity labour power - this is basic stuff

    I'm not going to be wasting my time taking you through the basics again Phil, so the crowd is yours - enjoy.

    (revol you must be happy you've got Phil on board now to back up your case!)
  3. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Such a little bitch you're being today....
  4. love detective

    love detective secret pint

    i'm serious, I mean i'm sure it was just what he needed to be reassured he's on the right track now that you've thrown your not inconsiderable intellect behind the argument that taking a shit (or having a nap) is productive of value, and that value itself (i.e. abstract labour) can be produced by just thinking about it
  5. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    His point as I take it, and certainly my point, was that Marx's category of labor-power refers to human subjective activity considered in the abstract, or as a whole, and that it is therefore basically co-terminus with life itself--which of course includes the humdrum daily activities to which you refer above.

    This understanding of labor-power flows naturally from its philosophical heritage in the forms of Feuerbach's "species-being" and Hegel's Geist. Both terms refer to the essence of humanity, which is alienated and objectified in the process of history. Marx advanced his concept of labor-power as the materialist successor of such concepts, but it retains the characteristic of referring to the essence of humanity, which for Marx was our capacity for subjective interaction with the objective environment, a.k.a. Life.
  6. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    My point was of course that concrete labor can be turned into abstract labor only in the mind. Abstraction is a mental not a material process.
  7. Fruitloop

    Fruitloop communism will win

    I thought concrete labour was turned into abstract labour by the process of exchange.
  8. Blagsta

    Blagsta Minimum cage, maximum cage

    I'm producing value right now.


  9. revol68

    revol68 what, fucking what?

    Yes it is.

    In a society of generalised exchange (capitalism) this subsumes many forms of labour not directly involved in exchange eg state education, nursing etc

    My argument is that housework (unlike individual acts like sleeping and shitting) shares a commonality with teaching and nursing in that it produces a surplus, that is this labour goes beyond that needed to reproduce the worker carrying it out and that this surplus is "embodied" in the commodity labour power that is then subsequently sold on the market, just as the labour power produced through teaching and health services.

    The fact that this labour is not formally recognised through a wage but instead is/was mediated through patriarchy only shows how capital rests on a whole host of labour formally outside of exchange but nonetheless is pivotal in not simply repoducing labour power but expanding it's creative abilities.

    This is just as much the hidden abode of production as the factory was when Marx delved into that place that states;
    As every schoolboy knows capital is dead labour, so a vital part of any analysis of capitalism must look at how this labour power is produced.

    Love detective has implied numerous times that such an analysis is incompatible with Marx, that it is shoehorning, and maybe he is correct but if he is then I'm only as guilty as many respected Marxist's like Harvey, Cleaver, Dauve, Dallas and Fortunati.
  10. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Arguably so, but it is still a psychological rather than a physical process.
  11. toggle

    toggle wobbly

    noy half as embarassing as the shit he wrote on ww2.

    i've got about 6 books of his on my 'to go' pile atm.
  12. Fruitloop

    Fruitloop communism will win

    @revol, cool yeah that was my understanding of it (although better put :))
  13. love detective

    love detective secret pint

    if people didn't sleep they wouldn't be able to work, therefore labour power would not be produced - ergo sleeping contributes to the production of labour power (as does all manner of other things like breathing, shiting and domestic labour)

    the rest of your argument/logic follows that it is therefore productive of value and therefore abstract labour (maybe this abstraction takes place while dreaming along the lines Phil suggested earlier)

    again, as i've said many times before, an analysis of capitalism in relation to how labour power is produced is of course vital, but this can be done without expanding marx's theory of value beyond what is was intended to be (to the extent that it becomes meaningless within his own framework). Analysis is carried out of all manner of things by Marx that are valuable to capital, but not productive of value. I get the impression you seem to think that only things that are productive of value and abstract labour are the only things that need to be analysed, this is not true, and certainly Marx did not think that either

    some of them I believe (Fortunati) effectively have produced their own labour theory of value for the very reason that they realise that saying what they do is not compatible with marx's theory of value/abstract labour

    I'd be interested in some quotes from Harvey that show he thinks domestic labour to be equivalent to abstract labour (by the way are you and Harvey, Cleaver, Dauve, Dallas and Fortunati all going out for a pint later seeing you're all in the same boat ;) )

    As i've said numerous times before, just because things are valuable to capital, it doesn't mean they are productive of value/abstract labour, and that just because all manner of things that are pivotal to reproducing the capital relation it doesn't mean that they are productive of value in the sense of abstract labour - your argument seems to always shoe horn in this comment that if we don't admit that these things are productive of value (i.e. abstract labour) then it means an analysis cannot exist which takes into account the way capital dominates and disciplines these things - but that is just setting up a false dichotomy - marx spends acres of text talking about things like this which are conditioned/disciplined by capital while acknowledging that they are not abstract labour/value producing in and off themselves

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