Haunted by the circulation worker

I was talking to a friend the other day about Marx… do I talk about anything else, lately… and I explained that Marx just can’t be right when he writes that that “circulation” work does not produce value. In fact, as I have discovered, the secondary sources, those offshore oracles, are generally silent about circulation work. David Laibman has a good run down on the topic, concluding: “Of the three significant definitions of unproductive labor – socioeconomic, evaluative and analytic – the first is operational but uninteresting; the second operational but unanchored in value-theoretic categories; the third ambition in the value-theoretic sense, but unoperational, and therefore invalid.” In other words, let’s smack our hands together and say, enough of this nonsense!

Unfortunately, mine is a life of few experiences, and simple pleasures. Wordsworth, a man of independent means who wanted a life of few experiences and simple pleasures, had the rentier income that allowed him to go tromping through hill and dale until he came upon a waterfall in the wild, and later to make a poem about how the sound of it haunted him. Myself, I bike through gas fume haunted streets to libraries, grocery stores and coffee shops, listening to mp3 music that blots out the aural chaos around me, and so I am haunted by more inward tending concerns – for instance, circulation work. Like Laibman, I find Marx’s notion that it creates no value to be puzzlingly wrong; and because Marx starts his analysis this way, the category has been rather thrown away. But if one considers that the entire solution to the problem posed by the reserve army of the unemployed since the Great Depression has been to absorb it either into work for the state or circulation work, surely there are characteristics proper to it that have impressed themselves mightily on the wax tablets of our collective unconsciousness (along with archetypes of caves and the fear of hot hairy mouth of some predator eating your ass).

For, although Marx makes a distinction here that is overridden by the general bias of labor theory of value – that makes a surprisingly regressive turn back to the material object, as though we had never escaped the artisan’s artifice, and the tailors of the Federation of the Just had finally gotten the better of him – at the same time, Marx’s conclusion fits with a certain social emotion that ‘things are better.’ A large subsection of modern literature is devoted, in one way or another, to the melancholy of circulation work, the perception that, day after day, what one does is “shuffle paper around”. In Studs Terkel’s Working, he sets his interview with a stone mason in the very preface of the work – which makes a lot of aesthetic sense. “Stone’s my life. I daydream all the time, most of the time it’s on stone. Oh, I’m gonna build me a stone cabin down on Green River. I’m gonna build stone cabinets in the kitchen. That stone door’s gonna be awful heavy and I don’t know how to attach the hinges.” This is the pure poetry of life. So that one feels a distinct comedown when the man says: “One of my sons is an accountant and the other two are bankers.”

All of these things, in a manner of speaking, passed before my eyes when my friend said that she was teaching Bartleby the Scrivener to her class next week. For Bartleby’s archetypal power has only increased as the circulation worker has become the dominant prole in the Western world.

Hmm, I want to add more to this, but I will have to do that later.


Anonymous said…
But isn't the title of Vol. 2, more important than Vol. 1 in crucial regards, "The Process of Circulation of Capital"? For which Vol. 1, "The Process of Capitalist Production," merely provides the input. Circulation thus being not just necessary but the higher order of capitalist organization. Only in turn to be subsumed along with production into the unfortunately unfinished "Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole." I mean, you can't even have use value until you have exchange value. A claim that abstract values are 'better' would seem to me to hew closer to Marx' argument.

Chuckie K
Anonymous said…
Say, a passage like this before we have even reached circulation and are confined in production, "Yet the coat itself, the body of the commodity, coat, is a mere use-value. A coat as such no more tells us it is value, than does the first piece of linen we take hold of. This shows that when placed in value-relation to the linen, the coat signifies more that when out of that relation, just as many a man strutting about in a gorgeous uniform counts for more than when in mufti." "Mere." "more than." Linen > coat > uniform. Each shaped by added labor and more specific social relations.

'Thingness' matters inasmuch as work incorporates it into society. In and of itself - not so much.

Chuckie K
roger said…
But Mr. CK, what does that have to do with the issue at hand? In fact, Marx, in the section on Commodity fetishism, makes fun of those who look for value in the physical thing - and then claims that there is no value in circulation work because it doesn't result in a physical thing.

As Laibman points out, Marx stuck to this point.

However, I simply think he is wrong. Here is how he puts it in the Grundrisse:

Eine der Formen, in denen zuerst in den alten Gemeinwesen diese Art der Besoldung erscheint, ist das Heerwesen. Der Sold des gemeinen Soldaten wird auch auf ein Minimum herabgesetzt – ist rein durch die Produktionskosten bestimmt, zu denen er verschafft werden kann. Wogegen er aber seine Dienstleistung austauscht, ist die Revenu des Staats, nicht Kapital.
In der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft selbst gehört in diese Rubrik aller Austausch persönlicher Dienstleistungen – auch Arbeit für persönlichen Konsum, Kochen, Nähen etc., Gartenarbeit etc., bis herauf zu den sämtlichen improduktiven Klassen, Staatsdiener, Ärzte, Advokaten, Gelehrte etc. – gegen Revenu in diese Kategorie. Alle menial servants21 etc. Alle diese Arbeiter, vom geringsten bis zum höchsten, vermitteln sich durch ihre Dienstleistungen – oft aufgezwungne – einen Anteil am Surplusprodukt, an der Revenu des Kapitalisten. Es fällt aber niemand ein zu denken, daß durch Austausch seiner Revenu gegen solche Dienstleistungen, d.h. durch seinen Privatkonsum, der Kapitalist sich als Kapital setzt. Er verausgabt vielmehr dadurch die Früchte seines Kapitals. Daß die Proportionen, in denen die Revenu sich austauscht gegen solche lebendige Arbeit, selbst durch die allgemeinen Produktionsgesetze bestimmt sind22, ändert nichts an der Natur des Verhältnisses."

So it may well have seemed to Marx, with his eyes on the factory. But this distinction between unproductive and productive labor is simply reactionary, today.

But this doesn't mean that there is not a viable category of circulation work.
Anonymous said…
Sorry, I forgot to paste in the quote, "Marx’s conclusion fits with a certain social emotion that ‘things are better." The point is, he's *not* writing about 'things.'
He's writing about relationships. In these relationships, circulation is the higher order which realizes value through exchange after value has been created in production.
Both necessary to the realization of profit, for which 'things' are an unfortunate impediment. Capitalism consists of more than the mere creation of value.

Production for circulation and the possibilities of circulation are the socialized aspects of capitalism that made it progressive. that is why I say Marx was looking ahead to the social and not back to the artefact.

I would like to propose that a discussion of the nature of capitals differentiated into produciton and circulation might better begin with Part IV and Part V of volume 3, rather than with a sentence from a draft.

Chuckie K
Anonymous said…
How is it reactionary? The concentrated production of surplus value allows a proliferation of non-value producing pursuits and occupations. My job, for instance. That's progress for society in many regards.

But those mortgage debts aggregated in securities - also circulation. What value was created there?

Chuckie K
Anonymous said…
Please note too, the passage from the Grundrisse also refers to personal services, not circulation. Circulation denotes those activities necessary to the (re)production of capital.

My best friends daughter works in the stables of folks in the fox country just north of here. She produces no value. She just works. That's what Marx is talking about here.

Capital could go on without her. But it cannot go on without circulation.

Marx' discussion of production, circulation and value does not express, imply or display effects of some metaphysical judgement on the authenticity or originary qualities of production or circulation, of things.

The definition of value has two constituents, production by labor and production for circulation. Use-value is subordinate to and constituted by circulation. Use-value and utility are two different things.

On the one hand, capital requires for its (re)production the circulation work that realizes surplus value.

On the other, useful labor can be done and is done in ample measure even today outside the sphere of capitalist production and circulation. Marx points out, this labor depends for its existence on the surplus-value created in capitalist production, although in an imperialist center like the U.S., even a very modestly remunerated worker like me can pay guy to spread fertilizer on the yard. But since my yard is not a capitalist enterprise, his work produces no value.

Chuckie K
roger said…
Of course it is reactionary, mr. CK. I'm glad you recognize that Marx makes this distinction not just in Book 2, but in the Grundrisse and in the theories of surplus value. He is most clear about why this doesn't create value in Book 2. And he clearly has not laid aside a fetish for physical product. To say that a secretary creates no value by typing a report and putting it in a file, while X, in a factory, putting a pin head on a pin, or y attaching nylon hair to a barbie doll, does produce value brings into Marx's very unsentimental notion of value creation a slew of sentiment about real stuff.

Anecdotes about how such and such a person doesn't create real value doesn't cut it. In Marx's terms, the man at the loading dock loading the dynamite into trucks, as well as the truckers, create no real value. That is absurd, and, as I say, reactionary.

On the other hand, Marx doesn't press this distinction too much. The shame is that the distinction overshadows the very interesting ideas about circulation work.

Marx freely admits that a process of valorisaation goes on with these kinds of tasks - the secretary, the airline stewardess, the domestic, the salesman. And I'd say - along with Laibman - that valorisation without value is an empty set in the social whole.
roger said…
By the way, your example is exactly why I think of the person working in the stables - she just works, she doesn't create any value - doesn't make any sense. What does create value mean, then? She is out of the circuit of valorisation? Well then, does the person who creates the comb that she curries the horse with create value? The horsebreeder?

Obviously, if we take seriously Marx's notion that the worker is selling his or her time, and if that time is commodified - as Marx often says it is - than the difference simply seems to be the fetishization of a product. Marx would say that there was no exchange value in the cleaning of the stable - which is his point in the Grundrisse - but this simply means that the degree of circulation is shortened. It has nothing to do with valorisation.

Marx is off on the wrong track here. I'm not going to beat him with a stick, since I think this is a regressive gesture that we can tell is regressive because of his theory of valorisation.
Anonymous said…
Rog, this is the whole point. 'Value' is a terminus technicus. Marx defines it specifically to label the differentia specifica of labor as a form of capital. Just as money has a host of functions, among which capital is only one, labor has many functions, among which capital is only one.
But when labor functions to (re)produce capital it changes lives and changes society in unprecedented ways.
The entire polemical purpose of 'Capital' is to make clear this specific qualitative difference from all preceding and surrounding forms of labor.
Eliminate the definition and you have eliminated the concept of Capital, erased the book and cancelled the social project.

Chuckie K
Anonymous said…
"the man at the loading dock loading the dynamite into trucks" -

Now this example is circulation, and not service. The dynamite has to be sold. to be sold, the dynamite has to be transported. To be transported, the dynamite has to be loaded.

Once the value has been created, there can be no profit until the value has been realized through sale.

The process of circulation is necessary, and its costs are necessary. The wages paid to the workers who execute it are necessary, and their work is necessary.

But the work of production and the work of circulation are different. That's all Marx is saying.

Just like metabolization produces different outcomes in muscle cells and in brain cells. The same proteins are broken down to produce energy, but one set of metabolites generates nerve impulses that exercise executive functions, the other produces tissue contractions that generate motor functions. It's that kind of distinction. Analytic and descriptive, based on the global properties of the system and their functional (pre)requisites.

Chuckie K
roger said…
I disagree, Mr. K. When we rid Marx of the fetish of material objects, we rid him of a superstition. Whether the work is in a stable or a factory, it doesn't matter from either the point of view of production or of circulation. The superstition emphasis on production of one type has had the effect of distorting Marx's deeper insight into the proletarization of the work force. Factory work isn't a more authentic work, nor does it create a more authentic value. There's no reason to think that. The person who makes dynamite, and the person who grooms horses for a country club, are not situated differently in the circulation of capital. This is rather obvious - country clubs, resorts, etc., are profit making enterprises traded on the same stock market in which explosives companies trade, subject to the same laws of valorization. If Club med employees produce no value, than there is a huge gap in Capital, in which, potentially, most capitalist enterprises could exist without producing value. I am, of course, not the first person to say this.

I don't find it too bothersome. This is not, I think, a major issue for Marx. Living during the great stimulus of 19th century industry, he was inclined to be object centered. But there is nothing in Capital that makes that necessary. The interesting thing about services is how they simply commodify, on another level, abstract labor. But of course, the woman combing horses in the stable is producing value.

As I say, Marx doesn't make much of these distinctions - and I find the notion that circulation work absorbs the industrial army in the Keynesian economy well worth exploring!
roger said…
However, the more I think about it, the more I think that Marx's trouble, here, with services is to see them individuated as separate products - the dynamite or the barbie doll - which can be carried to the market - whereas the currying of a horse seems not to exist in that way. But what is carried to the market, here, is obviously the whole routine. The routine is sold by the capitalist to the purchaser. Circulation, of course, still occurs. It is simply the case that the purchaser comes to the resort, rather than the resort being sold in a shop to the purchaser.

In these transactions, production and circulation are preserved. One shouldn't take the physical characteristics of products to be something special, necessary to support circulation.
Anonymous said…
The material objects are irrelevant to Marx' argument. That's why I point to Volume Three. Look a the level of abstraction reached by the "process of capitalist production as a whole." It in fact requires the functional specialization of capital as circulation, transport, reatial and finance.

In as much as Marx focuses on the factory, he does so politically. He wants to talk to the workers whose work is most socialized and whose wages provide the resources for self-organization. Subsequent communists, although I don't Marx does so, also consider the strategic weight of a sector and the possibility of controlling it. These are historically and conjuncturally specific conclusions.

"The person who grooms horses on rich person's estate," to restore my example, works outside the production and circulation of capital. You mistake money for capital. Making a profit and creating value and surplus value are, again, analytically distinct activities. Money only functions as capital in specific circumstances.

Chuckie K
roger said…
I don't think I am mistaking money for capital, Mr. K. Your friend isn't being given an allowance. It is obvious that resorts raise money on the market - that is, capital - like any other company. The mistake is exaggerating the segment within circulation of taking a product to the market, when of course, there is no formal difference between that and having the customer come to the resort.
N. Pepperell said…
Hey roger - I have to agree with Chuckie K. on this one: Marx's distinction between productive and unproductive labour doesn't relate to whether the labour is producing "things" vs. whether it's producing intangibles, services, etc. The concept isn't mystical in that way.

Marx tends to differentiate dimensions of social experience based on the social purpose the activity serves. The productive/unproductive distinction is a distinction of that kind. The same literal activity - the same sorts of physical motions - might be either productive or unproductive, depending on the social purpose it serves.

So someone could organise, say, cleaning services on a capitalist basis - aiming to make a surplus from leasing the labour power of a collection of cleaners: the labour would be "productive" labour, even though it produces only an intangible material benefit, because the social purpose is oriented to valorisation.

That same someone could also drawn down a portion of their profits - not reinvesting them toward further accumulation - to use for their personal consumption. Part of that personal consumption could involve hiring a cleaner from the neighbourhood, not part of their business, to clean their personal home. That labour is unproductive, even though exactly the same labouring activity is performed, and exactly the same material benefit is realised by the consumer.

You can still criticise this distinction, and say that Marx shouldn't make this move. But this is the nature of the move. It has nothing to do with what is produced, or with what type of activities are involved in the production process, or with what sort of material satisfaction the consumer receives. It has to do with how the activity links up with an overarching social purpose.

This sort of move is quite important to how Marx understands something like the fetish: capitalist relations are fetishised in part because they are reproduced in and through sorts of actions that are also performed for other reasons. It's therefore socially plausible that people can - by focussing on one aspect of social reality (say, the aspect in which "cleaning" is always the same sort of practice), and miss that there is another aspect of social reality in which two "cleaners" might actually be contributing to very different social process - so that not all "cleaning" is entirely the same, even though it is the same in some respects. Without trying to speak for Chuckie K., this is part of what would be involved in trying to tease out the differentia specifica of capitalism as a historically distinctive form of production.

This sort of move is also important to how Marx understands his standpoint of critique: capital reproduces itself only in and through practices that can - and often do - also serve very different social ends. This is (in a very preliminary way) part of the "internal contradiction" that makes it possible to appropriate possibilities constituted within capitalist production, and institutionalise those possibilities in other ways - ways that won't continue to reproduce capital, but that will continue to meet material (and other) needs.

This doesn't mean that Marx's discussion of productive and unproductive labour can't be criticised. Just trying to indicate what the criticism would need to address...
N. Pepperell said…
P.S. Note that, in the cleaning example I've been giving, from the cleaner's point of view, the two types of "cleaning" are also entirely the same activity: selling their cleaning services to someone else in order to make ends meet. Their perspective therefore tends to abstract away from any differences in how they get their pay.

The difference may not be visible to the consumer, either: they just want a cleaner; it's no matter to them one way or the other whether the service is provided by Capitalist Cleaners Inc, or by a neighbour down the street. They just want the material end benefit: a clean house. Their perspective therefore tends to abstract away from any distinctions between how that end result is achieved.

Again, this is an important dimension of Marx's argument about the fetish: from many, many different socially available perspectives, the reproduction of capital is simply not visible in immediate experience - the differentia specifica is erased.

It is therefore necessary, Marx thinks, to move constantly between different perspectives, to generate multiple viewpoints in order to be able to bring the differentiating factors into view... Otherwise, certain dimension of social experience - really important dimensions of social experience - are hidden in plain sight...
roger said…
Hmm, I might have to incorporate this into my next post about claqueurs.

In any case, here is where Marx goes on about productive and unproductive labor in the Grundrisse. I love this passage, it is such a great rumbling mass of Marx. He begins like this:

“The communal substance of all commodities, i.e. their substance not as material stuff, as physical character, but their communal substance as commodities and hence exchange values, is this, that they are objectified labour. [**] The only thing distinct from objectified labour is non-objectified labour, labour which is still objectifying itself, labouras subjectivity. Or, objectified labour, i.e. labour which is present in space, can also be opposed, as past labour, to labour which is present in time. If it is to be present in time, alive, then it can be present only as the living subject, in which it exists as capacity, as possibility; hence as worker. The only use value, therefore, which can form the opposite pole to capital is labour (to be exact, value-creating, productive labour.”

But it is in that last phrase – value-creating, productive labor that I feel a codicil, even a reactionary codicil, is concealed.

“Labour as mere performance of services for the satisfaction of immediate needs has nothing whatever to do with capital, since that is not capital's concern. If a capitalist hires a woodcutter to chop wood to roast his mutton over, then not only does the wood-cutter relate to the capitalist, but also the capitalist to the wood-cutter, in the relation of simple exchange.”

This of course is exactly like the woman working in the stable. Now if the objection here is that this woman’s work is related to her employer as the artesan’s work is related to her customer – and thus, is not fully part of the capitalist system – then I don’t have a problem with it. It is merely one of the heterogeneous elements that make up the entirety of the system.
roger said…
But Marx seems to be saying more than this – as he makes clear:

"The woodcutter gives him his service, a use value, which does not increase capital; rather, capital consumes itself in it; and the capitalist gives him another commodity for it in the form of money. The same relation holds for all services which workers exchange directly for the money of other persons, and which are consumed by these persons. This is consumption of revenue, which, as such, always falls within simple circulation; it is not consumption of capital. Since one of the contracting parties does not confront the other as a capitalist, this performance of a service cannot fall under the category of productive labour. From whore to pope, there is a mass of such rabble. But the honest and 'working' lumpenproletariat belongs here as well; e.g. the great mob of porters etc. who render service in seaport cities etc. He who represents money in this relation demands the service only for its use value, which immediately vanishes for him; but the porter demands money, and since the party with money is concerned with the commodity and the party with the commodity, with money, it follows that they represent to one another no more than the two sides of simple circulation; goes without saying that the porter, as the party concerned with money, hence directly with the general form of wealth, tries to enrich himself at the expense of his improvised friend, thus injuring the latter's self-esteem, all the more so because he, a hard calculator, has need of the service not qua capitalist but as a result of his ordinary human frailty. A. Smith was essentially correct with his productive and unproductive labour, correct from the standpoint of bourgeois economy. [45]

Now, it seems to me that Marx, here, is moved by two motives One is to say, look, value has nothing to do with some physical thing - which he says over and over again - and one is the pull of an older morality that would condemn the porter, or the worker in a luxury shop, for engaging in sumptuary activities. The first motive sees that for capital to be distinguished from money - which is just another commodity - we need valorisation, that is, production and circulation, with all that implies of the double aspect of use value and exchange value. Marx starts out this passage by, in fact, making that point:

"Capital is by definition money, but not merely money in the simple form of gold and silver, nor merely as money in opposition to circulation, but in the form of all substances -- commodities. To that degree, therefore, it does not, as capital, stand in opposition to use value, but exists apart from money precisely only in use values. These, its substances themselves, are thus now transitory ones, which would have no exchange value if they had no use value; but which lose their value as use values and are dissolved by the simple metabolism of nature if they are not actually used, and which disappear even more certainly if they are actually used." Yet even here, should we simply pass over, as read, that substances [sondern in der Form aller Substanzen – Waren] are not things?
roger said…
How does Marx resolve what I take to be a hidden binary between substances and services that is - I claim - inflecting his vision of cleaners, porters, and others?

I claim that... he doesn't. This passage ends (I must say, rather beautifully) like this:

"What the other economists advance against it is either horse-piss (for instance Storch, Senior even lousier etc.), [46] namely that every action after all acts upon something, thus confusion of the product in its natural and in 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 the 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."

I love those examples of licepicking and stroking tails - but they are, precisely, moralizing examples, for of course value doesn't have to do with some moral judgment about value. I might not find tanning to be useful. But a tanning salon operates via usevalue and exchange value, all the same. Which I think Marx comes back to this point in his example of the luxury shop. Productive and unproductive, as terms defined not by sumptuary, or lazy, or "done by a character I don't like" - but defined as "productive labor within the capitalist system" - will, I argue, make licepicking, suntanning and liposuction all productive activities if they can be capitalized, and pre or proto capitalist activities if they cannot.
roger said…
PS - I can't help but notice a trace of the personal in this passage, and in the one on circulation labor - where the instance is of the rent collector. Because surely Marx had to deal with those 'porters" when he moved the household around, just as, of course, he was ground up by the rent collector. I talked to my sis yesterday about not answering the phone to debt collectors - which is my policy, the reason I never answer the phone - a land line - until the answering machine kicks in and I hear who it is - and she told me her policy was to answer the phone and tell them that they should be ashamed of themselves for taking that job.
roger said…
I deleted my first comment because it wasn’t clear enough.

So let me sum this up, or at least what I think we are talking about.

If we are speaking of the difference between pre or proto-capitalist activity within capitalism, than I entirely agree with you all, Nicole and Chuck K.
Thus, I think this is correct:

"So someone could organise, say, cleaning services on a capitalist basis - aiming to make a surplus from leasing the labour power of a collection of cleaners: the labour would be "productive" labour, even though it produces only an intangible material benefit, because the social purpose is oriented to valorisation."

It makes no formal difference whether the good or service is taken to the ‘market” or the market, in the form of customers, comes to the good or service. If I make dynamite or I run a resort, both capitalize on labor. The concentration – or vertical integration or horizontal dissemination or whatever – elaborates forms on this basic pattern.

Similarly with the claqueurs.

But would Marx have agreed?
N. Pepperell said…
Hey roger - apologies in advance - I'm beyond groggy at the moment, so this may be utterly beside the point... But...

Many of the examples Marx uses in relation to productive/unproductive labour do relate to activities that could be seen as carryovers into capitalism of older forms of production - practices like retaining domestic retinues of servants, for example. But I don't believe this is the entire substance of the distinction: it's important to Marx to be able to show that subsets or eddies of practice within capitalist society can suggest potentials for social development whose implications in some ways point beyond capitalist society. By themselves, these eddies won't break us out of capitalism's "ellipse", but their existence suggests an opportunity for active historical appropriation of a different set of social potentials than the ones we currently default to reproducing. Over the course of capital, Marx tends to take every opportunity to explore moments of social experience whose logic suggests different potentials than the logic of capitalist accumulation, and he'll happily draw examples from pre-capitalist holdovers, as well as from moments that he thinks point toward a more desireable future but that owe their historical origins to capitalism. The things Marx groups under "unproductive" labour include elements of both - not just precapitalist holdovers, but also entirely new phenomena that suggest the possibility for other logics of social life than those associated with accumulation (remembering that Marx says that to be a "productive" labourer is a misfortune, not a benefit: this is why...).

In terms of your final question, if you're asking whether Marx would agree that service labour could be organised capitalistically, the answer to that is yes. The opening passage of Capital, by talking about commodities as external things, has been taken by a number of people to imply otherwise - but that passage is part of an elaborate set-up for the derivation of labour-power in chapter six - a commodity that is inseparable from its owner, and that therefore violates those opening conditions (which, in retrospect, we realise are positions articulated by political economy, whose "social validity" Marx wants to demonstrate - by showing that this validity is circumscribed and bounded in ways that political economy doesn't adequately realise).

Marx draws most of his examples of "productive labour" from manufacturing, which makes a certain intuitive historical sense. But he uses the example, as well, of the possibility of someone to run a capitalist school - clearly a service providing an intangible product, but without this seeming to pose a problem for its "productiveness"...

Apologies if this is beside the point... About to run off for a full day of nonsense at the moment, so a bit distracted, and it may be a while before I'm back online...