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In response to Paul C's statement that:
Any unit of production that purchases its inputs and requires to sell its
>> >outputs in order to reproduce itself is a capital, so that any economy is
>> >on such units is a capitalist economy.
> > I'm afraid I seem to have missed something here. If we were to theorise a
>> simple commodity producing society in which craftspeople and peasants
>> exchange articles of consumption and means of production in the market,
>> would that make those individual production units (or those means of
>> production) capital and an economy based upon such units capitalist? Isn't
>> the designation as capital based upon a particular social relation which
>> missing in this case?
Paul responds in 2129:
>If one were just talking about mere handarbeit then you might be justified,
>but we are not talking about such a primitive economic basis. And even
>this, as Lenin emphasised in his writings on the NEP constantly engenders
>capitalist relations of production, sweats them from its very pores. His
>writing on the differentiation of the peasantry into exploiter and exploited
>makes this clear.
>There is some possibility within agriculture of having units of production
>which continue to produce commodities but do not engender captialist
>relations - collective farms. They differ from other commodity producing
>units in the following fashion:
>1. their major productive input - land - is not a commodity, and cannot
> be purchased of sold.
>2. there is a large measure of internal self sufficiency - many of the
> used are grown locally - fodder etc.
>3. the participation in labout is hereditary rather than flexible, which
> the formation of wage relations.
If we are talking about the NEP period, though, your description fits well
a very significant proportion of peasants (the serednyak)--- regardless of
Lenin's comments. Cf Chayanov's Theory of Peasant Economy for a
contemporary discussion of Russian peasant agriculture with family labour.
>If we are dealing instead with industrial enterprises, then the point that I
>was making to Jurrian applies in full.
Do I understand you to mean, then, that workers' collectives in industry
would be capitalist--- even in the absence of wage-labour-- if they
purchase inputs on the market and sell their outputs there as well? Let me
stress that I think the *tendency* to capitalism is present in commodity
exchange but that is not the same as saying this is capitalism.
Michael A. Lebowitz
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: Phone (604) 291-4669
Fax (604) 291-5944
Home: Phone (604) 872-0494
Fax (604) 872-0485
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