Productivity, Valorization and Crisis: Socially Necessary Unproductive Labor in Contemporary Capitalism

Science and Society 57 (3):262 - 293 (1993)
Discussion surrounding Marx's distinction between productive and unproductive labor too often fails to distinguish between the various forms that unproductive labor may assume and is too hasty to subsume the income of workers "unproductively" employed by capital as a non-profit component of social surplus-value. Against this, it may be argued that many forms of unproductive labor are socially necessary to the social capital and are therefore properly viewed as systemic overhead costs. As such, they should be treated, in value-theoretical terms, as elements of the constant capital flow. The implications of this approach are explored for crisis theory and the evolution of the class structure with particular reference to the Canadian experience in this century.
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