[OPE-L:2679] Re: slaves and value

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 10:09:04 EDT

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Alfredo writes [ope-l:2673]:
>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
>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.

I think that the *necessity*/*contingency* argument is spot on (and, btw,
shows the usefulness of dialectic in understanding complex, dynamic,
ever-changing systems; i.e. the superiority of a *process* approach to
political economy, over a *structuralist* approach, where everything must
be categorised according to how well it appears to fit the structures of
this mode or that). I would love to go into the argument further. IMO,
I'm interested to know how Alfredo arrives at wage-labour as the
'neccessary' condition, and slavery as the 'contingent' condition under


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