[OPE-L:2680] Re: slaves and value

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 23:39:35 EDT

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Re Nicky's [OPE-L:2679]:

> I think that the *necessity*/*contingency* argument is spot on

This was not the issue under debate. Nor was it the question
initially posed by Alfredo in [2598]. The debate (putting aside for
now the question of "fixed capital" raised by Chai-on) has focused on
whether slaves under capitalism were (and are -- since slavery
still exists in isolated enclaves) productive of some proportion of the
surplus product *or* some proportion of the surplus product and surplus

So far, the only basic argument that I have heard for the later is that
slaves were engaged in commodity production. Thus Rakesh wrote in [2659],
"We have monetized means of production, calculating and calculated
behavior, and marketable output that allows a reasonable return on
investment. Sounds like value production to me." "Sounds like", perhaps,
but is it? What we should be asking is whether labour employed by
capital in the production of products which have a use-value and an
exchange-value is a necessary and sufficient condition for the
production of surplus *value*. And we should be asking whether what
Patrick in [2635] indicated as (at least part of) his "major point" --
namely, that "human labor is human labor" -- is valid for this issue or
whether the *form* that labor takes has relevance to the question of the
production of value and surplus value.

In solidarity, Jerry


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