productive labour and unproductive labour
productive labour and unproductive labour(MARXISM) contrasting forms of labour within CAPITALISM AND CAPITALIST MODE OF PRODUCTION which arise as an implication of acceptance of the LABOUR THEORY OF VALUE. While productive labour refers to those forms of labour which create SURPLUS VALUE, unproductive labour refers to those forms of labour which do not do so. Only those forms of labour which in a fully socialized economy would be necessary are regarded as SOCIALLY NECESSARY LABOUR. All other forms of labour, which may be necessary within a capitalist economy for the ‘realization’ of surplus value rather than its creation (e.g. bank clerks) or for the ideological justification of capitalism (e.g. some forms of intellectual labour), are held not to constitute forms of’productive labour’. If the labour theory of value is challenged, such Marxist conceptions of unproductive and unproductive labour lose much of their cogency. see also CONTRADICTORY CLASS LOCATIONS.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000