[OPE-L:2657] Re: RE: Re: RE: slave labour

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 10:46:47 EST

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"Chai-on", please note that capitalists have gone to war with each other
before. Northern industrialists fought Southern enlsavers over control of
Western land and tariffs, as I learned in high school history.
Industrialists in the Western world then came to depend more on the output
from plantations on which unfree labor was employed in Central America,
Peru, Egypt, Vietnam, India, etc--and they made no effort to destroy those
plantations, indicating that they were hardly a drain on surplus value.

Even after the destruction of slavery in the Caribbean, indentured labor
(also not free wage labor, really de facto slavery) was used for some time.
The proletariat has indeed from the birth of capitalism been a global one,
exploited in a variety of forms. I have granted that once there is a well
enough developed market in free wage labor, slavery becomes an inefficient
method by which to secure a proletariat.

>Secondly, I would like to raise another question, "Can variable capital
>constitute an element of fixed capital?"
>Why and how?

Well, to change the point. Variable capital cannot be constant capital by
definition. The capital that was invested in the reproduction of slaves who
produced commodity output was variable. The maintainence of slaves after
their working lives was neither variable nor constant capital but an
expense of production under early capitalist relations of production.

Yours, Rakesh

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