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I largely agree with Rakesh, but not with the following:
'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.'
(a) Rakesh seems to accept the rigid sequence of modes of production of the
'Preface'. I see contingency there, not necessity.
(b) Population problem? Problem for whom?
Slavery seems to me to be a contingent response to a specific historical
problem, how to rip off the land through mineral extraction (in Spanish
America and Brazil), or how to extract maximum surplus value using basic
technologies through agricultural exports to other regions of the country or
the world (Brazil, Spanish America, Caribbean, US). The historical similarity
with European slavery is largely irrelevant, *except* that 'tradition' was
used to legitimise the imposition of slavery upon natives and Africans in
early modern times.
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