[OPE-L:3207] Re: Re: Re: capitalist mode of production

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Mon May 15 2000 - 16:24:40 EDT

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On Mon, 15 May 2000, Fred B. Moseley wrote:

> As textual evidence to support his unusual interpretation that the
> "capitalist mode of production" includes non-capitalist forms of
> production (such as worker coops and the putting-out system), Gil offers
> one sentence fragment from deep in Volume 3 of Capital (in Part 5 on
> interest). The sentence fragment is the following:
> Concealed in this idea, moreover, is the still greater nonsense
> ... that the capitalist mode of production could proceed on its course
> without capitalist production. (p. 501)

I agree with Fred's interpretation of this statement, in terms
of the suppressed clause concerning interest-bearing capital,
and therefore also agree that the quotation is not really grist
for Gil's mill.

But I don't agree with Fred's corollary:

> Marx explicitly stated that the commodity that he starts with in Chapter 1
> is a product of capitalist production. For example, from the "Results",
> We began with the commodity, with this specific social form of
> the product - for it is the foundation and premiss of

As Paul C has said, this is a non-sequitur. The commodity can
be the "foundation and premiss" of capitalist production,
without being /exclusive/ to capitalist production.

Consider the following interesting passage:

"Definite historical conditions are involved in the existence of
the product as a commodity. In order to become a commodity, the
product must cease to be produced as the immediate means of
subsistence of the producer himself. Had we gone further, and
inquired under what circumstances all, or even the majority of
products take the form of commodities, we should have found that
this only happens on the basis of one particular mode of
production, the capitalist one. /Such an investigation,
however, would have been foreign to the analysis of
commodities./ The production and circulation of commodities can
still take place even though the great mass of objects produced
are intended for the immediate requirements of the producers...
The appearance of products as commodities requires a level of
development of the division of labour ... such that the
separation of use-value from exchange-value ... has already been
completed. But such a degree of development is common to many
economic formations ... with the most diverse historical

It is otherwise with capital. The historical conditions of its
existence are by no means given with the mere circulation of
money and commodities." (Capital, I, 273-4)


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