[OPE-L:6840] Re: Re: surplus value, commercial workers and merchant capital

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Mar 29 2002 - 22:59:24 EST

re: Jerry's 6839

>I agree that the redistribution of surplus value does not explain 
>the whole picture where 'backward conditions' (what a terrible 
>expression!) prevail. In order to explain this and the wider global 
>context, we not only have to look at the distribution of surplus 
>value but also at the distribution of *wealth*.

There is a wealth of mahogany and other tropical *trees* in the 
forests of Brazil (for an ecological analysis of this clear cutting 
there is work by the Marxist biologist John Vandermeer). There is an 
abundance of mahogany and other tropical *hardwood* as a commodity in 
the warehouses of Northern furniture makers, thanks to Brazilian 
slave labor.

>   Moreover, the distinction between surplus value and *surplus 
>product* also has important meaning.

Why is it again that formally unfree labor can never produce *surplus 
value* in individual enterprises  even if (as Banaji himself 
underlines) capital-as-a-whole does indeed depend on formally free 
wage labor?

Why is it that a slave plantation cannot ever be a capitalist enterprise?

How are computer programmers on H1B visas formally free workers--they 
are after all tied to a single employer; yet do they not produce 
surplus value in the form of code?

All the best, Rakesh

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