File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 223

Date: Sun, 12 Oct 1997 19:05:25 +0200
Subject: M-I: Re: Get back in the kitchen and rattle them pots & pans!

Siddarth comments on Rakesh's figures regarding the amount of unpaid
household work:

>> The total monetary value of unpaid household work, including tax, national
>> insurance and pensions, would be between 56 and 122 percent of the UK gross
>> domestic product.  The figure depends on how unpaid work is valued.
>Rakesh points out the truly staggering amounts of value generated by
>unpaid household work, a portion of which surely flows to big capital
>Steve P commented on the following exchange between Doug H and me:

This is not the case. Exchange value is only generated in the market by
actual realized exchange of commodities. The work done at home is not part
of such an exchange, and therefore not productive of exchange value. What
Rakesh's figures show is the immense impact all this production of use
values would have if it was taken on board by capitalist organizers and had
to be purchased in the market. I assume that "sex work" was not included in
Rakesh's figures. If we add that in, the effect would be even greater.

What flows to big capital is not value from this production, but cheaper
labour power.



PS On the question of whether big capital changes its spots, Steve P thinks
it does. He quotes my exchange with Doug:

>> >Perhaps Doug could enlarge on the important qualitative differences between
>> >big capital now in the States and big capital then in Germany?
>> Yeah, Germany was in the midst of a serious economic crisis, had lost a
>> humiliating war, and radically reformist and revolutionary parties had a
>> strong hold on the working class. Not far from Germany was the USSR, which
>> to outside observers was going from strength to strength. None of those
>> things is true in the U.S. today. Even places in the midst of real economic

And writes:

>Doug, you forgot to refer Hugh to a standard high school textbook where he
>could get more info on such *hard* questions as the above one posed to
>you.. steve

So now I'm just waiting for Louis P to get on his high horse about Steve's
sloppy, bourgeois handling of references. Or perhaps he only does his
pedantic showpiece when he's attacking someone whose political and
organizational principles he hates?

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