Marx on productive and unproductive labour - from Grundrisse (pp 273)

Adam Smith was essentially correct with his productive and unproductive labour, correct from the standpoint of bourgeois economy. What the other economists advance against it is either horse-piss (for instance Storch,Senior even lousier etc.), namely that every action after all acts upon something, thus confusion of the product in its natural and its economic sense; so that the pickpocket becomes a productive worker too, since he indirectly produces books on criminal law (this reasoning at least as correct as calling a judge a productive worker because he protects from theft). Or the modern economists have turned themselves into such sycophants of the bourgeois that they want to demonstrate to the latter that it is productive labour when somebody picks the lice out of his hair, or strokes his tail, because for example the latter activity will make his fat head - blockhead - clearer the next day in the office. It is therefore quite correct - but also characteristic - that for the consistent economists the workers in e.g. luxury shops are productive, although the characters who consume such objects are expressly castigated as unproductive wastrels. The fact is that these workers, indeed, are productive, as far as they increase the capital of their master; unproductive as to the material result of their labour. In fact, of course, this 'productive' worker cares as much about the crappy shit he has to make as does the capitalist himself who employs him, and who also couldn't give a damn for the junk. But, looked at� more precisely, it turns out in fact that a true definition of a productive worker consists in this: A person who needs and demands exactly as much as, and no more than, is required to enable him to gain the greatest possible benefit for his capitalist. All this nonsense. Digression'.

From Grundrisse (p 273)

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