[OPE-L:6820] Re: Re: bonded lablour and surplus value

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Tue Mar 26 2002 - 01:31:53 EST

In 6819 Ian responded to Jerry (who was quoting me)

>Jerry is right to say that unfree labour does not necessarily produce
>surplus value. It does though, caveats about value being definable only
>within capitalist commodity production aside, when unfree labour produces
>for the market, as when slaves in the US south produced cotton sold onto
>the world market. Marx also makes the point that surplus value can arise
>from merchant capital, where the surplus value does not arise from hiring
>workers to produce commodities with more value than costs of production,
>but from buying cheap and selling dear.
>>Re Rakesh's [6817]:
>>>  We had some argument about whether workers who are not formally free
>>>  wage laborers could still produce surplus value--I tended to find the
>>>  old arguments of Jairus Banaji persuasive.  I would consider these
>>>  workers  to be clearly proletarians productive of surplus value.
>>The continued persistence of bonded labour was never in doubt in
>>our previous exchange.

Jerry, this is bizarre. I never said it was in doubt--with whom are 
you arguing here?  The thesis  that has been in doubt remains whether 
bonded or formally unfree workers can ever produce surplus *value*. 
You took an extremely negative position on the matter. Neither Brass 
and Banaji nor I say that all bonded and formally unfree workers 
produce surplus value. As I introduced the NYT article, I said 
*these* workers seem obviously to be producing surplus value; after 
all that they are  producing commodities for the world market with 
commodified means of production that need to be valorized obviously 
seems to suggest that they are producing surplus *value* in the 
circuit of capital.

>  For more information on that subject,  see
>>Tom Brass _Toward a political economy of unfree labour: case
>>studies and debates_  (Library of Peasant Studies No. 16, Frank Cass
>>Publishers).   Brass's case studies include examinations of bonded labour
>>in eastern Peru (and the "enganche system"), northwest India, and northeast
>>India.  He also attempts a critical evaluation of the role of unfree labour
>>in both neoclassical and Marxian theories.

Yes, and from what I have read of Brass, he is critical of quasi 
Marxist ideas such as those you have propounded on the matter!

But I have not read this volume. Nor do I imagine have you!

>  However -- in reply to Rakesh
>>-- the continued existence of unfree labour for millions of people globally
>>does not of and in itself speak to the question of whether they are
>>productive of surplus value.

And I never said it did. And you must know that Banaji never said any 
such thing.


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