Rakesh Bhandari wrote: > Jerry, > thanks for the response in 6938. > > you seem to be saying that only wage laborers, defined as those who > exchange labor power as a commodity for money, can produce surplus > value. I do not understand why and how you have reached this > conclusion. One might have thought that the unique ability of wage > labor, as you have defined it, to produce surplus value has something > to do with the freedoms that are associated with wage labor, i.e., > freedom to choose one's master and use the market freely for > consumption choices. But in your own estimation it does not seem to > be these freedoms that underlay the unique ability of wage labor, as > you have narrowly defined it, to produce surplus value. I think it would be quite simple to construct a theory of a generalised commodity producing slave economy, in which the circuit of capital took place in the form m-c-m' and the surplus value was the monetisation of the surplus product produced by the slaves. Let us assume for analogy with the vol II analysis of capitalism that there are 3 sectors. Sector I produces slaves. We will assume that it does so by slave raids on the territories adjacent to the slave state - as was the case of the Roman republic during its expansion. This sector depends upon the activity of the free citizenry to form an army, but it takes as input corn, oil, salt, iron, leather etc to feed and supply the army. These are commodities produced by the slave sector of the economy. The state sells the slaves it captures to the slave owning classes and from this recoups the costs of maintaining an army. Sector 2 produces vendible commodities primarily agricultural but also from extractive industries - mining etc. It does so using slaves bought from the state and sells its output to sectors 1 and 3. Sector 3 constitutes the personal slaves of the upper class and the slaves engaged in the building of public monuments temples etc. We will use the following notation: V1 is the value of output of sector 1, V2 is the value of the output of sector two. Sector 3 produces no vendible commodity as output, but consists of what from the standpoint of the slave mode of production is the unproductive or surplus consuming sector. S2 is the consumption of slaves by sector 2, S3 is the consumption of slaves by sector 3. C1 is the consumption of commodities in the form of food and military raw materials by sector 1. C2 the internal consumption of food and raw materials by sector 2. C3 is the consumption of food and raw materials by sector 3. For simple or expanded reproduction to occur we have the following reproduction constraints: V1 >= C1+ S1 That is to say the state must capture slaves to a value greater than the cost of maintaining the army, V2>= C2+S2 The slave industry and agriculture sector must produce commodities of greater value than the slaves is destroys plus the costs of feeding these slaves C3+S3<= V1+V2 -(C1+ C2+ S1+ S3) The unproductive consumption must be less than the surplus value produced in sectors 1 and 2. The slave owning class can carry out the circuit m-c-m' under these circumstances, buying slaves from the state and food and industrial raw materials from each other. The profit is used to employ personal slaves in sector 3. The profit made by the state is used to employ public slaves to build monuments etc. Within this edifice a small amount of free labour may exist as a contingency which the slave owning classes seek to eliminate over time. The inner necessity of the system is its ever greater expansion as the sum of capital embodied in slaves is increased. Thus the Slave Power must expand at the expense of surrounding states - it is inherently imperialist - seeking to extend its subservient population and its territory. For those who consider slavery merely a contingency it is worth remembering that both classical slavery and modern slavery existed for significantly longer than industrial capitalism has so far survived.
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