[OPE-L:2682] Re: Re: slaves and value

From: nicola taylor (nmtaylor@carmen.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Sun Apr 02 2000 - 11:57:32 EDT

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At 11:39 2/04/00 -0400, you wrote:
>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

Consideration of necessity/contingency is very relevant to the debate. It
concerns the questions: (1) is wage-labour *the necessary category* of
capitalist commodity production; (2) is the capitalist commodity (that
produced by wage-labour) the only commodity in which the value relation
holds. If both (1) and (2) then, slave labour is not productive of either
value or surplus value (it is only in some way contingently related to
capitalism). I have no idea why you reject this approach to the debate.

>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.


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