[OPE-L:2622] Re: Re: slaves and value

From: C. J. Arthur (cjarthur@pavilion.co.uk)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 11:00:21 EST

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The real point is not the lack of freedom for the slave but the lack of
freedom for the slave-owner. The capitalist has one crucial advantage. He
can dismiss the worker; this together with refined wage/fine systems allows
him to manipulate the workers so as to engage their interests with his own
e.g. avioding waste. marx quotes an observer to the effect that he was
astonished at the fact the slaves were allowed to abuse implements and
animals in a way that would have led to instant dismissal on a capitalist
farm. The implements had to be especially stong, heavy and inefficient, to
prevent the slaves breaking them.
In effect the slaves were little better than oxen.
I agree with Lee this puts a question mark ove whether we can talk of
abstract labour here even where production is of commodities.
Chris A
>There is no obvious reason that workers have to be free in order to add
>value. As Alfredo suggests, enslaved workers in Brazil and the US created
>lots of value and surplus value. In fact, one might reasonably argue that
>enslavement is the ultimate form for commodifying the labor process (by
>making the worker a commodity).
>peace, patrick l mason
>At 12:26 AM 3/28/00 EST, you wrote:
>>Chai-on says:
>>[the slave] does not add value but [the wage worker] does because [slave
>>labor] is not the kind of abstract labor in that the free versatility of
>>labor is not adapted by the slaves themselves.
>>(a) I am not clear about the meaning of this sentence
>>(b) does it imply that *commodity* producing slaves (US South, Brazil, etc,
>>until C19th) were *not* producing value - simply because they were not
>free -
>>ie, the legal relationship between owner and slave determines the content of
>>the labour process?

P. S. Please note that I have a new Email address,
but the old one will also run until the summer. (To be doubly sure load both!)

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