In section 3 of the Apotheosis of Money, Robert Kurz takes on a problem that has been discussed by Marxists for almost 80 years. The discussion is important because, I believe, its conclusions will have more to say about what a post-capitalist society actually looks like than any of the issues typically raised by the Left:
“it is clear that, taken as a whole, the share of those unproductive workers (viewed from the perspective of surplus value production) who only represent social consumption, that is, “overhead costs”, is constantly increasing.”
Another way to state this is that an ever increasing share of the total labor time of society is being wasted on unproductive labor — an issue raised by David Graeber in his recent essay, On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs.
Kurz’s essay is significant to me, because if, as I think, communism is free time and nothing else, society seems to be preparing for just this possibility. The collapse of capitalism will likely appear, as it did in the Soviet Union, as a crisis in the form of massive unemployment, which locks billions out of the labor market, making it possible for the social producers to eliminate most work in a single stroke. The preparation for a society founded on free, disposable time for the many, who can use this free time for self-activity in whatever way they want, may just be taking the form of an ever increasing quantity of labor time that is being unproductively expended by capitalist firms.
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