[OPE-L:2702] Re: slaves and value

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Date: Tue Apr 04 2000 - 07:18:38 EDT

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Re Rakesh's [OPE-L:2699]:
> Yes, yes, Jerry, I have emphasized that form matters, though you seem to be
> formalist to the point of being anachronistic.

You have repeated this expression many times in recent days (perhaps a
half dozen times). Not once do you ever bother to explain its meaning, in
particular what the anachronism supposedly is. I conclude that you just
like the way it sounds.

> That the *general* form of
> the output of plantations was the commodity form matters; that many
> *ingredients* that entered into plantation output took the form of
> commodites matters.

Yes, this matters.

> This meant that production was value determined, that
> modern plantation slave production was determined by and adequated to the
> expansion of value. This means that modern slave labor was abstract, value
> positing labor.

Yet, none of the above follows -- unless one believes that the production
of a product with an exchange-value and a use-value is thereby the
production of value. What doesn't matter in your scheme above is the
*particular social form* that ***L-A-B-O-R*** takes when it is productive
of *value*.
> Banaji's citation of Duby.

Not relevant.
> Because their means of production were not monetized, their production did
> not have to be organized around/adequated to/determined by the expansion of
> value.

The expansion of value is the expansion not merely of monetized products,
but becomes the expansion of capital as a particular social relation.

> But the
> reproduction costs of slaves--which often included purchase of consumer
> goods off the market--was variable capital.

Another repetitive assertion. Again one sees that the *particular social
form* that *labor* takes is irrelevant for you when determining what
constitutes variable capital.

> You seem to me confused. How can you refer to enslaving capitalists but not
> proletarian slaves?

Marx uses the expression proletarians to also include labor in Ancient
Rome. The question is not whether slaves are "proletarians" in some
*trans-historical* definition but whether they assume the particular
social form that proletarians take *under capitalism*.

We are both getting far too repetitive so I hereby bring this particular
exchange with you to a close.

In solidarity, Jerry

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