Nearer to Straffa than Marx: Adam Smith on productive and unproductive labour
We investigate Adam SmithÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s analysis of the properties of what he called ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œproductiveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â - as against ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œunproductiveÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â - labour, a concept which commentators have frequently found problematic. Puzzles have been noted and inconsistency alleged. A question arises ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ did Smith confuse two different concepts of productive labour? We believe that, despite the apparent problems, a coherent reading of SmithÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s account of productive and unproductive labour is in fact possible: if ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œproductive labourÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â is understood to refer comprehensively to labour which not only maintains but, through producing a net surplus, adds to the communityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s stock of wealth ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ as regards either the financial or the real resources which make possible economic growth ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the difficulties with SmithÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s treatment largely disappear.
|Date of creation:||May 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Sir William Duncan Building, 130 Rottenrow, Glasgow G4 0GE|
Phone: +44 (0)141 548 3842
Fax: +44 (0)141 548 4445
Web page: http://www.strath.ac.uk/economics/
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ian Gough, 1972. "Marx's theory of productive and unproductive labour," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51144, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:str:wpaper:1304. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kirsty Hall)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.