publication . Preprint . 2013

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

Roy Grieve;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 May 2013
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...
free text keywords: Productive/unproductive labour; basic/non-basic goods; surplus production, jel:B12, jel:E11, jel:O11
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