[OPE-L:2654] Re: Re: slaves and value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 09:40:14 EST

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Jerry wrote in 2634:

>we hold fast to the distinction that value/surplus value is necessarily
>connected under a system of generalized commodity production to *paid
>labor time/unpaid labor time* then the labor time of slaves do not create
>surplus value since *all* labor time is unpaid labor time for slaves.

Jerry, all labor time may be unpaid. But some of it was nonetheless
necessary labor, the rest surplus labor. Under slave relations even
necessary labor appears as unpaid surplus labor. With the generalization of
the wage form, surplus labor appears as but necessary labor.

I don't know if you and Chai-on are claiming that slaves, like machines, do
not in fact perform any surplus labor or that the surplus labor of slaves
is not surplus value, yet the commodity product they produced was realized
on the market as a value that on the basis of the surplus labor performed
by slaves allowed the expansion of capital that the calculating enslaver
had invested in means of production, consumer goods and land.

True, tthere was inflexibility from having to purchase slaves to secure the
proletariat that engaged in profitable commodity production. But there was
no other choice at that point. It was either exploitation with some
inflexibility (that is no renewable wage contract) or no exploitation at
all because a sufficiently large labor force could not have then be
secured through the wage contract (that's why there had to be maximum wage
laws in the early stages of capitalism).

. This would imply that the
>monetary worth of the surplus product exceeds surplus value. Yet, this
>result seems to me to be entirely consistent with a perspective on Marx's
>part that the capitalist mode of production continued to co-exist uneasily
>with the remnants of pre-capitalist modes of production.

 Plantation slavery was not a mode of production that immediately preceded
capitalism as was feudalism. It was rescued from history and given new
content in order to allow capitalists to overcome the population problem
that haunted early capitalism.

Yours, Rakesh

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