[OPE-L:3270] Re: Re: Slavery

From: Duncan K. Foley (foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu)
Date: Fri May 19 2000 - 18:31:53 EDT

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I still think there's a question as to whether the slaves produced surplus
value in the Marxian sense. The slaveowners made a profit, but this could
have been the result of their participating in the equalization of the
profit rate. For example, if there were one completely automated sector of
the economy with no labor expenditure, the capitalists owning the means of
production in that sector would participate in the equalization of the rate
of profit, despite the fact that no surplus value was produced in the


>Duncan thank you for the understanding of Fed accomodation of debt issuance.
>You recently wrote:
>>If the analogy with fixed capital is strict, then the price the
>>slaveholders paid for slaves would have been equal to the surplus value
>>they expected to appropriate from the slaves' exploitation discounted at
>>the average profit rate. If this were true, the surplus value would
>>effectively have been appropriated by the slave traders rather than the
>Why were slaves fixed or in Marxian categories constant capital in any
>sense: was their value, as represented in the price paid for them,
>transferred to the final product in any way? I would say that purchase
>price of slaves was part of the variable capital, though entirely paid
> Moreover, the purchase price of new modern plantation slaves, along with
>the actual constant capital that confronted the slaves, was paid out of
>capital, i.e., out of the slaves' own commodity product after it *already*
>had been transformed into money on the market as it was wholly meant to be.
> The tools needed for subsistence production or commodity production--as
>well as some wage goods directly purchased off the market --were not
>'advanced' by the plantation owner but rather deducted from commodity
>product that had already been transformed into money. This seems to me to
>make the modern plantation slavery system a capital-wage relation (though
>not pure in its form), and alienated in its characteristic way.
>Of course the slave dealer, not simply the plantation owner, received a
>profit, but this could have been a redistrubution of surplus value that
>already had already been produced on the plantation. Instead of rent, the
>surplus value produced on plantations was partially distributed as slave
>dealer's 'profit.' Perhaps the slaver dealer's profit entered into the
>average rate of profit without contributing to the mass of surplus value
>out of which it was formed.
>But maybe not. Slave transporation may have been productive of value--how
>are we to deal with this form of transportation?
>Yours, Rakesh

Duncan K. Foley
Leo Model Professor
Department of Economics
Graduate Faculty
New School University
65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
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e-mail: foleyd@cepa.newschool.edu
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