[OPE-L:6909] slavery and value

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Fri Apr 05 2002 - 10:03:53 EST

In a previous message, I said that in "slave-capitalist" societies the 
production of slaves is a commodity-producing process.

Jerry [6908] replies: 
>if the (re)production of slaves is a commodity-producing process, is it also 
productive of surplus value?  If so, this would mean that the procreation and 
raising of children as slaves would itself be productive of surplus value. 
This would mean that the act of procreation and reproduction by and of slaves 
-- including the rape of slaves by slaveowners  where pregnancies and 
children result [!!!] -- would itself be a productive act [!]  in the sense 
that it would be productive of surplus value. If that were the case, then it 
would be possible to then say that slave_owners_, through the act of rape, 
contribute directly to the production of surplus value and are thereby 
(partially) productive laborers!

I would not go this far. I am not aware of the existence of "slave nurseries" 
in the New World, or anywhere else, in which case the industrial-scale 
production of slaves (through systematic rape or by other means) for profit 
could be productive of surplus value. I don't think that this type of 
production is possible for several reasons, not least resistance by the 
slaves themselves.

My point is much simpler: if there are slave markets, where ownership over 
people's bodies is traded regularly, then people become commodities, and 
their biological reproduction produces commodities (slave children) who may 
be sold, even separately from their parents. This is all I meant to say, not 

More generally, I do *not* think that the production of commodities is 
automatically and necessarily a *capitalist* production process. Value may be 
produced (e.g., by independent artisans) without surplus value being produced 
simultaneously. I think the case of slave-production is closer to this case 
than to a capitalist production process.


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