[OPE-L:4753] SV and the F of D (reply to Paul C.)

From: Gil Skillman (gskillman@MAIL.WESLEYAN.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 10 2001 - 18:49:36 EST

In response to this passage from me,
>> That is, it's *Marx* who has insisted that this stronger version of capital
>> scarcity is required for the existence of  
>> capitalist exploitation.  So let Marx answer your question, again from Ch.
>> 33 of Volume I:
>> "It is the great merit of E.G. Wakefield to have discovered, not something
>> new *about* the colonies, but, *in* the colonies, the true about capitalist
>> relations in the mother country....'If,' says Wakefield, 'all the members
>> of the society are supposed to possess equal portions of capital...no man
>> would have a motive for accumulating more capital than he could use with
>> his own hands.  This is to some extent the case in new American
>> settlements, where a passion for owning land prevents the existence of a
>> class of labourers for hire.'   So long, therefore, as the worker can
>> accumulate for himself--and this he can do so long as he remains in
>> possession of his means of production--capitalist accumulation and the
>> capitalist mode of production are impossible." [pp 932-33].

Paul C. writes:

>This refers to a particular configuration of the means of production in
>which individual workers by their own - or at least their families - efforts
>could be self sufficient. This is possible in agriculture  to some extent
>but it is not possible in modern industry. 

I accept that developments associated with the real subsumption of labor
under capital have changed the scope for worker self-sufficiency relative
to pre-capitalist conditions.  But granting that, it does not follow that
large-scale production precludes worker self-sufficiency.  Rather, it says
that workers can generally (not all production is large-scale) only achieve
self-sufficiency in *groups*, say groups the size of the labor force
required in such large-scale productive enterprises.  Alternatively,
workers might have ownership shares in several different large-scale
enterprises, as envisioned in Roemer's models of market socialism.

>The material mode of production is the key. Without large scale machinery
>there is no dominance of the capitalist mode of production.

Well, of the capitalist mode of production as we currently know it, anyway.
 The capitalist mode of production was still dominant even in the era of
primarily *formal* (as opposed to real) subsumption of labor under capital.
 Anyway, I think I could grant this point and still plausibly assert that
sufficient redistribution of ownership shares would eliminate *capitalist
exploitation*, even if this might not eliminate other unpleasant aspects of
capitalist competition.  



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