Productive Labor

Productive Labor

 

labor that incorporates in a finished product more labor-time than is expended to produce the means of subsistence necessary for the reproduction of labor power. K. Marx wrote: “Only that labor power is productive which confers more value than it possesses” (in K. Marx and F. Engels Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 26, part 1, p. 134). Whatever the mode of production, productive labor is labor that creates a surplus product. The creation of a surplus product constitutes the material foundation for the development of a society, regardless of its social form. By creating a surplus product under the prevailing system of production relations, productive labor realizes the goal of the mode of production.

Under capitalism, the production of surplus value is the essence of productive labor. The general form taken by surplus value is profit. Therefore, productive labor assumes the form of wage labor, which creates profit. The source of surplus value is quite clearly revealed, whereas that of profits is hidden. In capitalist society any labor that is directly exchanged for capital and that produces profit assumes the form of productive labor, which may include any type of human activity organized along capitalistic lines. Marx wrote that under capitalism “a writer is a productive worker not because he produces ideas but because he enriches the bookseller who publishes his works—that is, he is productive precisely to the extent that he is a hired worker for a capitalist” (ibid., p. 139).

In Soviet economics there are two basic interpretations of productive labor—a limited interpretation and a broader one. Adherents of the narrow interpretation define productive labor as labor that creates material wealth within a system of historically determined social relations. Proponents of the broader interpretation argue that labor may be productive not only in material production but also in the nonproductive sphere, if it is subordinate to the dominant production relations. They assert that labor in the nonproductive sphere, like labor in material production, creates a surplus product. Both interpretations are one-sided. Marx asserted that labor is productive from the point of view of its social form, if it is expended for the realization of society’s goals in material production or in the nonproductive sphere. According to Marx, even though the artist does not make any contribution to the national income, he is a productive worker if he is hired by and produces a profit for a capitalist.

Under socialism, productive labor is labor that is organized along socialist lines and that creates both a necessary product and a surplus product, thus realizing the goal of the socialist mode of production. As is well known, the goal of the socialist mode of production is to increase the prosperity of all members of society and promote the comprehensive development of the individual. This goal is achieved by the production of material wealth, which satisfies the physical and cultural needs of society, and by the production of nonmaterial, primarily cultural wealth in the nonproductive sphere. Therefore, the labor of workers in the nonproductive sphere assumes the form of productive labor if it contributes to the material well-being and comprehensive development of the individual, thereby realizing the goal of socialist society. However, material production, which serves as the basis for education, public health, and culture, remains the foundation of society.

REFERENCES

Marx, K. Kapital, vol. 1. In K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 23, chs.5, 14.
Marx, K. “Teorii pribavochnoi stoimosti” (vol. 4 of Kapital). Ibid., vol. 26.
Agabab’ian, E. M. Ekonomicheskii analiz sfery uslug. Moscow, 1968.
Medvedev, V. A. Obshcheslvennoe vosproizvodstvo i sfera uslug. Moscow, 1968.
Solodkov, M. V., and R. N. Samar. Metodologiia issledovaniia proizvoditel’nogo i neproizvoditel’nogo truda pri sotsializme. Moscow, 1969.
Kozak, V. E. Proizvoditel’nyi i neproizvoditel’nyi trud. Kiev, 1971.
Marksistsko-leninskaia teoriia stoimosti. Moscow, 1971.
Solodkov, M. V., T. D. Poliakova, and L. N. Ovsiannikov. Teoreticheskie problemy uslug i neproizvodstvennoi sfery pri sotsializme. Moscow, 1972.
Solodkov, M. V., and L. S. Krylov. Metodologiia issledovaniia proizvoditel’nogo truda pri kapitalizme. Moscow, 1974.

M. V. SOLODKOV

References in periodicals archive ?
As a result, we experienced production inefficiencies at both business units with a larger and currently less productive labor force.
In the final analysis, the measure is also pro-business as it will create a more motivated and productive labor force," Hontiveros explained.
This literary study analyzes representations of unmarried sisters in 19th-century British literature, looking at the unmarried adult sister in the 19th-century English household as a figure of legal and economic autonomy representing productive labor in the domestic space.
'It is a desperate attempt to discredit a potential law that would oblige employers, such as Ecop's members, to recognize the importance of women's social function in the reproduction of the human race, alongside the protection of their rights as part of productive labor, which the expanded maternity leave bill seeks to uphold,' Salvador said.
World leaders emphasize the need for productive labor force and technology to constantly improve the quality of life for an increasing population.
The question is not less or more foreign labor, but less or more productive labor."
Empowering women and girls will therefore create the conditions for a more productive labor force and smaller, healthier families, improving living conditions especially in rural areas.
While we're seeing greater degrees of automation and robotics, ensuring a productive labor force is still at the top of supply chain responsibilities.
(30) Thus, women's sex work, paid and unpaid, "can be reframed as a specific form of reproductive labor, parallel to and intrinsically linked to productive labor and military labor, which empire as a political entity relies on for its expansion and reproduction both physically and discursively." (31) As such, Moon's essay sheds light on the extent to which the reproductive labour of empire was not only constructive, as Donoghue and Jennings have stressed in Building the Atlantic Empires, but also affective, performed in carnal ways in the shadow of forts and bases.
Using such a modern method would contribute in bringing more of qualified and productive labor to the Kuwaiti market, said Al-Sabeeh.
Then, when the individual or crew shows up and isn't close to being matched with the job, we use them for what we can and cost the company dollars in less than productive labor cost.
In his view, an economy should not only provide enough material sustenance to preserve the population, it should provide the necessary backdrops for human flourishing: reasonable security, national defense, and a just reward for productive labor. It should not reward slavery or sloth, weaken social bonds, or pit one class against another.

Full browser ?