Creative Industries and the Distinction between Productive and Unproductive Labor
* Essay: Frederick H. Pitts - Form-Giving Fire: Creative Industries as Marx’s ‘Work of Combustion’ and the Distinction between Productive and Unproductive Labour.
From the book: Reconsidering Value and Labour in the Digital Age. Edited by Eran Fisher, Christian Fuchs. Palgrave Macmillan, 2015
Christian Fuchs et al.:
"Last, in Part V of the book, Frederick H. Pitts attends to another component in the valorization process of capital, which Marx saw as marginal and in fact unproductive. In “Form-Giving Fire: Creative Industries as Marx’s ‘Work of Combustion’ and the Distinction between Productive and Unproductive Labour”, Pitts takes a closer look at the importance of circulation in the accumulation process, arguing that Marx had only hinted at, but could not have guessed, the level of work and value-creation it entails in contemporary capitalism. Pitts argues that the work of combustion, as Marx argued, i.e. moving commodities and selling them, is today central to rendering production productive,i.e. in valorizing the “productivity” of production. This approach questions many key assumptions of the labour theory of value, such as the distinction between productive and unproductive labour, arguing thatthe ultimate criterion for productiveness rests in exchange rather than labour, and shifting the focus to the valorization process of commodities. This reformulation accounts for, and theorizes from within Marxist theory, the central role that creative workers – engaged in the work of circulation, such as designers, advertisers, marketers, and so on – play."