IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/str/wpaper/1304.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Nearer to Straffa than Marx: Adam Smith on productive and unproductive labour

Author

Listed:
  • Roy Grieve

    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

We investigate Adam Smith’s analysis of the properties of what he called “productive†- as against “unproductive†- labour, a concept which commentators have frequently found problematic. Puzzles have been noted and inconsistency alleged. A question arises – did Smith confuse two different concepts of productive labour? We believe that, despite the apparent problems, a coherent reading of Smith’s account of productive and unproductive labour is in fact possible: if “productive labour†is understood to refer comprehensively to labour which not only maintains but, through producing a net surplus, adds to the community’s stock of wealth – as regards either the financial or the real resources which make possible economic growth – the difficulties with Smith’s treatment largely disappear.

Suggested Citation

  • Roy Grieve, 2013. "Nearer to Straffa than Marx: Adam Smith on productive and unproductive labour," Working Papers 1304, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:str:wpaper:1304
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.strath.ac.uk/media/1newwebsite/departmentsubject/economics/research/researchdiscussionpapers/2013/13-04FINAL.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gough, Ian, 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Productive/unproductive labour; basic/non-basic goods; surplus production;

    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)
    • E11 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Marxian; Sraffian; Kaleckian
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. 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). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/edstruk.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.