1 Background

We hypothesize that labor in a developed capitalist economy differs by two orthogonal dimensions familiar from Marxist political economy:

  1. Labor is either concerned with direct production of goods and services, or with the reproduction of the basis of production and the institutions necessary for the capitalist mode of production.
  2. Labor is either concerned primarily with the use value or the exchange value of its product.

Some example occupations to illustrate this schema are listed in table 1.1.

Table 1.1: Examples of Jobs in a Marxist Categorisation of Labor
Production Reproduction
Use Value Engineering a Bridge Raising a Child
Exchange Value Marketing a Shirt Litigating Property Rights

If this categorisation can be empirically supported, it will be interesting to track, explain, as well as to criticize any changes as they occur over time, or differences between locales and sectors.