[OPE-L:6948] Re: Re: Re: Re: Wage-Labour and Free Labour

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 08 2002 - 23:02:18 EDT

Paul C writes in 6947

>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.

(Let me assume that all profit is accumulated in the expansion of the 
slave acquistion industry and the commodity producing sector which is 
based on slave labor. So no mention of sector 3.)

Is surplus value produced in sector I which is the violent state 
acquisition of slaves? However,  profit may be made by the state 
without the state organizing the actual production of surplus value.

It seems to me that new slaves are paid for out of revenue deducted 
from the surplus value embodied in the products from sector 2--your 
commodity producing sector based on slave labor.

The costs of slaves are thus more like the faux fraix of plantation 
slavery. I say this because I do not think slaves are  means of 
production (they are not in fact speaking instruments, as the 
friendly Romans had it) the value of which can then be transferred to 
the commodity output.

  In order to recover the costs of new slaves the slave owners of 
sector 2 have to super-exploit slaves. The costs of new slaves seem 
to have been recoverd on average in well less than a year.

In this way whether a slave is used in the production of commodities 
or for personal use the price paid for her is akin to a luxury 
expenditure by slave owning class.

Most slaves were not however used in order to meet the personal whims 
of the master  but  subjected to alienated, value positing 
proletarian labor, yielding  value in excess of their own costs, 
including the price paid to the slave trader and the costs of their 
daily reproduction (these latter costs would be variable capital).

I do not see why it is not possible for the slave owner to pay  a so 
called "fair" price to the slave catcher for additional slaves such 
that the slave catcher enjoys a "reasonable" return on his capital 
investment (the minimum capital requirements for slave trading seem 
to have been horrifically low, thus encouraging massive migration of 
capital into the slave trading business for hundreds of years)  and 
then to whip the slave into producing value so in excess of  his 
total costs to the slave owner that the latter enjoys a reasonable 
return as well.

But it seems to me that the production of new value happened entirely 
on the plantations and in the mines.   Of that new value both slave 
traders and slave owners partook (as well as insurance agents, 
financial capitalists, the state and myriad other actors).

The profit in your sector 1 is thus redistributed surplus value 
produced in sector 2.  That is, I would give sector 2 the same place 
that the Physiocrats gave agriculture--the sole source of the produit 


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