[OPE-L:7055] Fw: slavery

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.co.uk)
Date: Tue Apr 23 2002 - 03:17:19 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "paul bullock" <paulbullock@ebms-ltd.co.uk>
To: <0pe-l@galaxy.csuchico.ed>
Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 10:25 PM
Subject: Fw: slavery

> Rakesh,
> Thanks for your response. As you request, I  return this to the OPE-L
> I guess Jerry will too, which will separate our responses.
> There is a difference in my responses to this question compared to
> You bracket us rather tightly here, which given my own disagreements with
> Jerry on the issue of surpIus value and State production... and this
> exchange itself isn't  fair on either of us. What I  have simply been
> to settle for myself is the issue of surplus value and modern slavery...
> (and being 'happy' with a result  or not relates to my mind nothing
> else!.)..
> I take you point perfectly well about wage labour and surplus value. In
> as you saw I pressed Jerry on modern prison labour, where in my view
> value is extracted where work is done on commodity products, wage or no
> wage, accounting profit or not for the prison itself (though money is
> received). In the same way I was encouraging the inference from another
> direction  that capitalistically induced  plantations  extracted SV ...
> Jerry objected to this approach, blocking the inference. I did not reply.
> I then put a list of points to Jerry. The key point was whether if the
> commodity was produced, and Jerry agreed it is a commodity, which had
> value...( and here in response  he qualified the question of whether value
> was produced ) would it contain surplus value?  Why I hesitated at this
> point and simply didn't agree with you I'm not sure (pedantism I guess).
> In this discussion, Jerry's earlier  statement that Engels used the
> of sv  over a wider historical period (I asked him for quotes... which he
> hadn't found)  ran counter to his objection  to the idea that SV could be
> extorted from the US slaves..  this might put Engels on 'your' side. He
> apparently separating  Marx and Engels+ Diamat etc.... then he came up
> the Engels editing of the Vol 3 quote... which seemed to contradict his
> earlier  idea and so reunite Engles and Marx.... in his interpretation.
> Thinking this over, I conclude , that where surplus labour is extracted in
> system dominated by capitalism and where this S Labour time performed is
> producing commodities for sale to capitalist manufacturers..as in this
> case... there can be no question that surplus value is being produced,
> whatever the immediate local circumstances. Why I hesitated at the
> is not clear to me .... pedantry probably.
> thanks for your patience
> Paul B.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Rakesh Bhandari" <rakeshb@stanford.edu>
> To: <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
> Cc: <paulbullock@ebms-ltd.co.uk>
> Sent: Monday, April 22, 2002 10:31 AM
> Subject: slavery
> > Hi Jerry and Paul B,
> > I have some time just to write this reply. If either of you would be
> > kind enough to forward it to the list and respond to it, that would
> > be great. I shall try to respond next weekend.
> >   Rakesh
> >
> >
> > Just a few points.
> >
> > 1. Jerry and/or Paul has suggested (I believe) that Engels excised
> > surplus value from his summary of Marx's account of the changes in
> > the system of corvee labor because Marx meant to imply that only
> > surplus labor was performed, not that surplus value was in fact
> > produced. In other words, both Jerry and Paul B claim that Engels
> > recognized that corvee labor was not a capitalistic form of the
> > production of surplus value but rather  a system for the extraction
> > of surplus labor alone.
> >
> > Yet  reading of Marx's vol 1 comment and chapter on merchant capital
> > in vol 3 will reveal that Marx  freely substitutes surplus labor and
> > surplus value in certain specific contexts (as Preobrazhensky pointed
> > out long ago):  corvee labor entangled in the capitalist world
> > market, modern plantation slavery and exceptional instances of
> > ancient slavery, the putting out system under the domination of
> > merchant capital.
> >
> >
> > At any rate,  in this case Engels himself agreed that corvee labor
> > has become a transitional form of surplus value production. In fact
> > Engels refers to corvee labor having become a capitalist form of
> > production.
> >
> > "the capitalistic period announced itself in the country districts as
> > the period of agricultural industry on a large scale, based on the
> > corvee labor of serfs"
> >
> > Engels, Die Mark, 1882 quoted in GA Cohen, KM's Theory of History, p.
> >
> > There is thus evidence against Jerry's and Paul B's pure speculation
> > that Engels disagreed with Marx's clear view that surplus value had
> > been produced in the system of modern plantation slavery,  in the
> > system of corvee labor at a certain point in its development, in the
> > putting out system.
> >
> > It is also important that neither Jerry nor Paul B has been able to
> > produce a single quote in which Marx argues that only wage laborers
> > (as they have defined wage labor) can produce surplus value.
> >
> > They can quibble all they like about whether Marx mis-spoke in
> > referring to the surplus value produced in the system of plantation
> > slavery, in the putting out system, in corvee labor.
> >
> > Jerry can claim that Marx should not have referred to modern
> > plantations in the American colonies as capitalist enterprises (TSV
> > II). Jerry and Paul B can say that Marx should not have said again in
> > the Capital vol 3 chapter on merchant capital that slavery can be
> > transformed from a patriarchal system into a system for the
> > production of surplus value (almost the exact language in vol 1) and
> > that Marx blundered in referring to surplus value produced in the
> > putting out system.
> >
> > But Marx said what he meant, and neither has yet been able to find a
> > single quote in which Marx explains why it is that only wage labor
> > (defined in circulationist terms as the exchange of a money wage for
> > labor power) can produce surplus value.
> >
> > Marx says otherwise too many times for this to be a plausible
> > interpretation of Marx. In short they will not be able to find a
> > positive elaboration in Marx of their thesis--only wage labor (again
> > as they have defined it) can produce surplus value
> >
> > Jerry has made the claim that Marx could not have been referring to
> > the surplus value produced through the sytem of corvee labor because
> > commodities were not produced by these serfs for landlords. But
> > obviously Marx and Engels thought otherwise;
> >
> > they clearly thought that corvee labor had become a transitional form
> > of *surplus value* and/or capitalistic production. In fact this is
> > why Marx thought that the surplus labor which the landlords attempted
> > to extract from the serfs had been increased so horrifically.
> >
> > Jerry actually said that this section in vol 1 is about surplus
> > labor, not surplus value!
> >
> >   But in fact the section is about how as production for export in the
> > capitalist world market becomes the principal interest there are such
> > compulsions for surplus value production that a new voracious and
> > boundless appetite for surplus labor is created.
> >
> > It is clear that this section is not about surplus labor alone  but
> > absolute surplus value as that after is the theme of this part of
> > Capital. How can this be denied that this is the main point of the
> > section?
> >
> > Marx and Engels could be wrong about entangled in the world market
> > the lords had become and whether the production of commodities had in
> > fact become their principal interest--and Perry Anderson does present
> > evidence that suggests that they may have misread the situation in
> > terms of corvee labor though in the case of  modern plantation
> > slavery, as Blackburn's monumental history demonstrates.
> >
> >
> > But the point here is that neither Marx nor Engels thought that only
> > wage labor could produce surplus value.
> >
> > There has not yet been produced one piece of evidence that shows that
> > Marx thought that only wage labor can produce surplus value, though
> > it is not in dispute that
> >
> > a. Marx believed that a developed capitalism depends on free wage labor.
> >
> > b. that plantation slavery and corvee labor may have regressed from
> > surplus value production back to natural economy or patriarchal
> > economy if they had not been entangled in a world market dominated by
> > capitalist production on the basis of free wage labor.
> >
> > 2. Jerry has claimed that if slaves produced some of their own
> > subsistence that they could not have produced value. But Marx clearly
> > makes the crucial point in the TSV II quote which I took the time to
> > type out, though neither Jerry nor Paul B then parsed it and
> > responded to it carefully.
> >
> >   Peasants who have already produced their subsistence can dispose of
> > the surplus product at prices which are below prices of production
> > (or cost price as Marx refers to it in TSV); in this sense value does
> > not regulate their production.  However slaves were forced to produce
> > sufficient commodity output that the plantation owners could receive
> > at least the average rate of profit on their massive investments in
> > the plantations. That slaves produced some of their own subsistence
> > did not free them of the burden of having to labor long and hard
> > enough to produce a commodity output which would ensure the receipt
> > of prices of production for plantation capitalists.  This is in fact
> > why plantation owners in this calculating and calculated system held
> > the time that slaves had to tend directly for their own subsistence
> > to a carefully regulated minimum.
> >
> >
> >
> > 3. Nicky has questioned whether modern plantation slaves really
> > produced commodities. Again Marx himself emphasized that unlike
> > feudal serfs or colonial settler peasants, modern plantation slaves
> > produced commodities.
> >
> > "In these colonies, and especially in those which produced only
> > merchandise such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, etc and not the usual
> > foodstuffs.. right from the start the colonists did not seek
> > subsistence but set up a business...They did not act like the
> > Germans, who settled in Germany, in order to make their home their,
> > but like people, who driven by motives of *bourgeois production*,
> > wanted to produce *commodities*, and their point of view was, form
> > the outset, determined not by the product by the sale of the product."
> >
> > TSV, vol 2, p. 239 all emphases Marx's.
> >
> > Of course Nicky, unlike Jerry and Paul B, does not claim to be
> > interpreting Marx on this question but of course Marx was correct
> > that modern plantation slavery was essentially commodity production.
> >
> >
> > 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?
> >
> > 5. Paul B says that he is not happy with the thesis that US slaves
> > produced surplus value.  I do not see why Paul B has to be happy
> > about this.  Of course Marx's idea was that it was the very unhappy
> > lot of enslaved Africans to have had to have produced surplus value,
> > for this is what transformed a patriarchal slave institution into a
> > vicious consumer of human life.
> >
> > 6. Both Jerry and Paul B repeat their point that slaves could not
> > have produced surplus value because there was no variable capital
> > invested by modern plantation owners, but do note that they repeat
> > the point without ever having once commented on my speaking to their
> > point. In short, they have yet to explain why variable capital--which
> > is the capital invested in the securing and reproducing of
> > capitalistically productive labor--*must* take the form of a wage in
> > exchange for labor power for labor to then produce surplus value in
> > the abode of production.
> >
> > 7. Jerry underlines that Marx never referred to the purchase price of
> > slaves as variable capital or faux fraix. Yes but he does refer to
> > the surplus value produced by some slaves. He does refer to modern
> > plantations as capitalist enterprises.   So what is the problem? Does
> > Jerry think there is any evidence on his side that Marx believed that
> > no slave could ever produce surplus value? The only piece of evidence
> > he has suggested is Marx's referring to the amortization of the
> > purchase price of slaves as akin to the amortization of the money
> > capital used to purchase a piece of fixed capital. But no where does
> > Marx say that slaves play the same role in production as a piece of
> > fixed capital. No Marx says that slaves can and have produced surplus
> > value!
> >
> >
> > Rakesh
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >

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