[OPE-L:2623] Re: Re: Re: slaves and value

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 28 2000 - 12:20:41 EST

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Let me see if I have this straight.

There is a "lack of freedom for the slave-owner." [I prefer the term
enslaver or kidnapper, but we're talking about the same class]. The
enslaving capitalist is less free than the manufacturing capitalist because
the latter can fire "pure" wage
laborers, while the former cannot. I'm at a lost to understand why getting
fired is a greater inducement to work harder, faster, or smarter than any
of the options available to an enslaver. Such options include 1) separating
families by selling away parents, children, etc., 2) bull-whipping those
who do not work hard enough, 3) working the enslaved up to the maximum
substainable hours per day and days per week, 4) eliminating holidays,
5)increasing or decreasing the amount of meat in the diet of the enslaved,
6) socially isolating the enslaved during non-work periods.

Enslaved persons "were little better than oxen." Plantations were often
self-contained economic institutions, with the exception of the cash crop
that was sold on the market. Nearly all the skilled labor on plantations
was performed by the kidnap victims. In urban areas, the labor of the
enslaved was often rented by the enslaver to a manufacturer, ship builder,
etc. The surplus value produced by the slave was then split between the
enslaver and the renter of the enslaved person's labor.

Poor slave capitalist. His life was so hard. His "pure" capitalist cousin
had to wage the most violent war in American history to help him understand
that pure capitalism was more efficient than slave capitalism. Apparently,
however, the slave capitalist was a poor learner. For as soon as he was
given the chance, he reintroduced enslavement of others through the back
door via sharecropping.

Human laboring activity remains human laboring activity, even when the
humans have no legal rights the enslaving persons are bound to respect.

It is bizarre to argue that enslavement eliminates the production of
surplus value.

peace, patrick l mason

At 05:00 PM 3/28/00 +0100, you wrote:
>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

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