[OPE-L:2757] Re: Re: Re: slaves and value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Thu Apr 06 2000 - 22:10:01 EDT

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I just want to add a point of Hegelian clarification to what I have written
if Jerry wishes to rejoin the conversation:

OK this is from 2703:

I want to share this with you--I think you will appreciate the point. In
TSVIII (Section on Richard Jones, p. 431), Marx quoting Jones first then

"'I have not..made any distinction as to *slave-labour*...The *civil
rights* of labourers do not affect their *economical position.* Slaves, as
well as freeman, may be observed subsisting on each branch of the general
fund [self produced wages, expended revenue, and capital--rb].'
"[Marx himself then points out] Although the civil rights of the labourers
do not affect 'their economical position', their economical position does
affect their civil rights. Wage-labour on a national scale--and
consequently, the capitalist mode of production as well--is only possible
where the workers are personally free. It is based on the personal freedom
of workers."

I just want to emphasize that I have always agreed that society as a whole
can only come under the capitalist mode of production if the workers are
personally free. The capitalist mode of production the first forms of
capital production however do not make.

Marx's primary interest seems to be not in the history of capital
accumulation per se but in capital as a mode of production, as a totality
already operative on a national scale--perhaps there is a Hegelian residue
here in that Marx is interested not in the "imperfect" beginnings of
capital as much as the conditions and logic of it once it has become a mode
of production. And that concept may be his materialist understanding of
Hegel's cultural wholes of social-collective unities.

I agree for capital to become a mode or totality the workers must enjoy
personal freedom. And do note that I have emphasized this throughout the

So in this sense I do agree with Jerry that capitalism as a mode of
production requires the free wage form of social labor, but I am arguing
that before capital had become a mode, a totality it did at times (and had
to) proceed with the use of unfree labor.

I also am also trying to speak to Fred's question of whether Marx's subject

From the beginning of *Capital* was the modern bourgeois society, of
capitalism as a totality/mode of production, instead of the history of the
transition of simple commodity to capitalist commodity production. I do
think Marx's subject was indeed the former.

In my opinion, my debate with Jerry about whether capital can accomodate
formally unfree labor has resulted from a confusion about whether we were
treating capital in terms of its history or in terms of itself as a mode, a

I answer yes to the former but not the latter. The whole thing may come
down to understanding the Hegelian roots of Marx's thought.

Yours, Rakesh

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