Unproductive and Productive Labour in Marxism


cannot find a digestible or understandable definition on the internet

In: 10

Neither can they, it’s a pretty hot topic when you’re trying to rally working class people to your cause when the philosophy says that most of those people are doing unproductive work.

It’s more complicated than this but the general idea is that productive labor is labor that produces goods or services that can be sold on the market, thereby creating surplus value for the capitalist, and unproductive labor is labor that does *not* create surplus value.

It’s important to note that productive and unproductive here are using the plain meaning of the words. I.e. productive = produces and unproductive = does not produce, NOT productive as in “worthwhile” and unproductive as in “useless.” Unproductive labor is still useful and necessary, it just doesn’t create surplus value.