[OPE-L:7054] Re: Re: Re: slavery

From: nicola taylor (n.taylor@student.murdoch.edu.au)
Date: Wed Apr 24 2002 - 05:46:11 EDT

Thanks Ian.  Of course, I never denied that the labour of slaves creates
'products' that can be exchanged.  Perhaps in the case of commodity form
without a value content, we are back in the realm of 'empty forms'?? 
Best Nicky

At 12:33  24/04/02 +0930, you wrote:
>i agree with Nicky's definition of the capital/wage labour relationship,
>and agree with her that slaves are on a par with donkeys. But when she
>asks, why should we not treat the labour of slaves on the same footing as
>the efforts of donkeys (bith greater after a beating, etc), then i think
>she has missed the point that slavery is an exploitative social system,
>similar to though also dfferent from capitalism. The similarity is that
>surplus labour is coercively extracted in both cases, the difference is
>that the mechanism of coercion and its form of appearance differs. It makes
>sense to speak of surplus value being produced by slaves who produce
>commodities in that the surplus labour of the slaves takes the commodity
>form. it will not, of course, make sense to measure the rate of
>exploitation of slaves as s/v in value terms, since there is no 'v' in the
>case of slavery. In patriarchal forms of slavery, and in the case of
>southern US slavery in the case of domestic slaves also, surplus labour is
>extracted but clearly the rpoduct does not take a commodity form and so
>there is no surplus value.
>In earlier forms of slave production of commodities (on eg Roman
>latifundia) there may be debate about how developed the commodity form is
>and of whether it is useful to talk of surplus value rather than simply of
>surplus labour, but in the case of US slavery, which was integrated into
>the world market of capitalism, it is useful I think to take the surplus
>labour of slaves that produce commodities as part of the total surplus
>value of the US capitalist economy,
>>>> 4. Jerry has argued that I make it impossible to differentiate  how
>>>> the intensification of labor is accomplished in slavery from how it
>>>> is accomplished in wage labor capitalism. Does Jerry think that
>>>> employers  had no rights to corporal punishment in capitalist
>>>> factories in the 18th and 19th century?! At any rate, even if
>>>> physical coercion is outlawed in modern capitalism, why does this
>>>> mean that surplus value cannot be produced by slaves?
>>It seems to me that Rakesh *entirely* misses the point.  It is simply this.
>> The capital-labour relation is constituted both in exchange (a wage
>>payment to labour) and in production (a legally enforcible time commitment
>>by labour).  Most importantly, it is a purchase external to the capitalist
>>class.  It is external because it is a payment *to workers* and not to
>>*other capitalists*.  This alone sets labour apart from natural and
>>produced inputs to production, and from slaves who are owned and
>>distributed among capitals just as if they were donkeys or bullocks.   If a
>>donkey is beaten and forced to spend 10 hours a day pushing a handle on a
>>well to crush olives into olive oil, do you believe it creates surplus
>>value?  If not, why not?
>>I say not.  Because donkeys like slaves are exchanged internally among
>>capitals according to competitive laws of equal exchange (i.e. their price
>>on markets).  Exchange of slaves is no different to the distribution of
>>other existing resources (given that property rights under slave systems
>>extend to ownership of people and donkeys alike).  By contrast, the money
>>wage advanced by capital to labour is a payment external to the capitalist
>>class and is not an equal exchange.  i.e. the value of labour power (the
>>real wage) differs in magnitude to the value that living labour valorises
>>for capital during the course of the working day.  The fact that workers
>>sell only a capacity to labour (not labour) and share in the distribution
>>of the product according to their success in class struggle (i.e. success
>>in struggle over the terms and conditions of actual labour) alone gives the
>>term 'rate of exploitation' its meaning.
>>As I see it, Marx's demonstration that labour time in production is the
>>*sole* source of an increase in value rests entirely on the fact that
>>capital makes an initial external payment to labour in the form of wages.
>>If you do not make this connection, you cannot exclude nature as a possible
>>source of surplus value.  The argument is *implicitly* made throughout the
>>Introduction to the Grundrisse, which discusses the connection between
>>production and distribution in different systems (including slavery) and
>>the importance of beginning with concepts relevant to a historically
>>specific mode of production.
>>'These classes [capital and labour] in turn are an empty phrase if I am not
>>familiar with the elements on which they rest.  E.g. wage labour, money,
>>price etc.  These latter in turn presuppose exchange, division of labour,
>>prices, etc.  For example, capital is nothing without wage labour, without
>>value, money, price, etc.' (Marx, 1857-58, p.100 [1973, Penguin ed]).
>>Nicola Taylor
>>Faculty of Economics
>>Murdoch University
>>South Street
>>W.A. 6150
>>Tel. 61 8 9385 1130
>>email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au
>Associate Professor Ian Hunt,
>Director, Centre for Applied Philosophy,
>Philosophy Dept, School of Humanities,
>Flinders University of SA,
>Humanities Building,
>Bedford Park, SA, 5042,
>Ph: (08) 8201 2054 Fax: (08) 8201 2784
Nicola Taylor
Faculty of Economics
Murdoch University
South Street
W.A. 6150

Tel. 61 8 9385 1130 
email: n.taylor@stu.murdoch.edu.au

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Thu May 02 2002 - 00:00:10 EDT