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(1) A form of nonproductive labor and, in this sense, a socioeconomic relationship expressing the consumption of income.
(2) A purposeful activity existing in the form of a useful effect of labor.
As a form of nonproductive labor, services represent a relationship arising from the useful effect of labor that is consumed as an activity. Thus, a tailor renders a material service in that he makes clothes. It is precisely the transformation of material into clothes that is the service of the tailor; the tailor’s activity is embodied in the clothes. As a result of this activity, economic relations arise that are associated with the consumption of income of those people who use the tailor’s labor. The same kind of economic relations are seen when a tutor is engaged for the instruction of children. But in contrast to the activity of the tailor, the activity of the tutor is not embodied in an object, existing instead as a useful effect of labor that is consumed in the very process of labor, that is, during the process of teaching. As a form of nonproductive labor, services do not express specific relations of one or another method of production. For example, under both capitalism and socialism this form of labor expresses relations whereby labor is exchanged for income. The economic relations characterizing services do not realize the objective of a method of production; therefore, there are relations of nonproductive labor.
Services as special types of use-values, as nonmaterial forms of labor, are not counted in the national income. This applies to the work of, for example, teachers, doctors, actors, and musicians. However, by producing objects of consumption with their labor, these people increase the overall consumption of society and help to create society’s personal consumption fund. Although they have no value, services may have a price, which allows them to be counted in society’s personal consumption fund.
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Marksistsko-leninskaia teoriia stoimosti. Moscow, 1971.
SShA: sfera using v ekonomike. Moscow, 1971.
Solodkov, M. V., and L. S. Krylov. Metodologiia issledovaniia proizvoditel’nogo truda pri kapitalizme. Moscow, 1974.
M. V. SOLODKOV