Marx, Circulation and Value in the Service Sector Today

ricardo antunes


As we know, in Book II of Capital, Marx offers empirical and analytical clues to understanding and updating the theory of labour value today. But as the capital cannot be effective without some interactive mode between living labour and dead labour, it creates and re-creates, produces and destroys, generates new productive spaces, re-spatialize and also de-spatialize, intimately linked to the generation of added value.
With the machinic-informational-digital world developed intensively in recent decades, the production time was reduced and the spaces that generate more value were extended. If the surplus value is born in the production sphere (Capital, Book I), we know that production is also distribution, exchange/circulation and consumption.
In Book II, Marx comprehensively addressed the process of capital circulation. As the main objective of capital is its valuation, the reduction of circulation time becomes imperative. Therefore, time of circulation, although necessary, becomes a limiter of the time of production. So, it is always urgent its reduction in order to shorten the total turnover time of capital (which is given by the time of production plus the time of circulation time). Therefore, the more capital circulation time approaches zero, the higher its productivity is.
There is no need to go very far to realize that we have a rich starting point to, contemporaneously, offer a better insight of the role of information technology (ICT), of the growing importance of service and of immaterial production in the process of value creation and valorisation of capital.

*Professor of Labour Sociology at the University of Campinas (UNICAMP, Brazil).

Accumulation - Exploitation - Labour - Karl Marx - service - valorization proces - value forms - work