[OPE-L:6844] Re: Re: surplus value, commercial workers and merchant capital (fwd)

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Mar 30 2002 - 13:19:19 EST

re 6842

>---------- Forwarded message ----------
>From: Ian Hunt <Ian.Hunt@flinders.edu.au>
>Date: Sat, 30 Mar 2002 14:30:53 +1030
>Subject: Re: [OPE-L:6839] Re:  surplus value, commercial workers and 
>  merchant capital
>Dear Jerry,
>The distinction between surplus product and surplus value is important:
>slave owners, feudal lords, tributory systems, etc have all appropriated
>surplus product (and surplus labour)

In Capital 1, Marx himself notes how the institution of slavery can 
be transformed from a patriarchal institution hemmed in by the 
immediate circle of needs of slave owners or masters to an 
expansionist capitalist institution entangled in the world market and 
organized around the  boundless search of surplus value.

Despite trying to resist this conclusion, Robin Blackburn comes quite 
close to it in The Making of New World Slavery, p.  374-5
"However the undoubted fact that neither the feudal estates of Eastern
Europe nor the slave planations of the America can properly be regarded as
capitalist enterprises should not lead us, as it has some writers, to
regard them as *equivalently distant from the capitalist mode*. The feudal
estates of E Europe were a product of the manorial reaction of the 14 and
15th centuries--sometimes referred to as Europe's 2nd serfdom. In the
first instance they were created not in response to the dictates of cash
crop production but as the lords' answer to the impact of the demographic
crisis in the Eastern marchlands. Their subsequent orientation to cereal
exports required very few productive inputs from the West, and encouraged
no reciprocal exchange. The American slave planations by contrast were set
up directly for the purpose of supplying the European market, and had not
other raison d etre. In their operation, as in their foundation, they
remained intimately tied geared to exchanges with European merchants and
manufacturers. Even at the height of the Polish grain exports they
accounted for only 10-15 0f total production, with luxury items
dominating imports. In the New World by far the greater part of plantation
output was exported, and many productive inputs were imported from
European mfgs: equipment, implements, construction materials, clothing,
foodstuffs; as for the African slaves, they also were acquired
increasingly in exchange for mfg trade goods. Western Europe's trade with
the slave plantations was thus less unbalanced and more conducive to
cumulative, reciprocal expansion."

I have  posted this passage before [OPE-L:2805] Re: RE: Slavery

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Date: Mon Apr 10 2000 - 17:07:55 EDT

Yours, Rakesh

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