[OPE-L:7479] Buying up and monopsony

From: jmilios (jmilios@hol.gr)
Date: Tue Jul 30 2002 - 07:17:50 EDT

Sorry for the deleyed answer. I was out of town for a few days.

Re OPE-L:7447

Rakesh, thank you for reposting my mail. Yes, I have written a paper entitled: "Preindustrial Capitalist Forms: Lenin's Contribution to a Marxist Theory of Economic Development", in Rethinking Marxism, Volume 11, Number 4 (Winter 1999), pp. 38-56. I will be glad to mail you a hard copy if you send me your postal address.

Re OPE-L:7448

Gil, thanks for stressing the narrowness of the monopsony explanation. However, what I wrote about the buyer-up was not intended to support such an approach. I consider the buyer-up to be a hybrid historical figure who personifies the process of transition from handicraft to the developed capitalist manufacture. What is important according to my view, is not only the "monopsony relation" but also the division of labour imposed to the direct producers by the buyer up, the diversification of production on the buyer-up's command, the supply of raw materials to these direct producers, the emergence of the "middleman" who connects the local producers in the different regions of a dominion with the large scale buyer-up (seated in the export port or the commercial city) and who also "subjects" these producers to the new (capitalist) social relations not only economically, but also politically and ideologically. In the regions of the Ottoman empire where the Greek bourgeoisie-national revolution of 1821 broke out, this process had been going on for several decades, transforming the "ancien regime" not only economically (buyer-up, wage labour: manufactories, big merchant and ship-owner enterprises), but also politically (forms of political representation, dissolution of the asiatic-communal system of the empire, formation of revolutionary organisations) and ideologically (enlightenment and national idea). The middleman of the new era emerged out of the dignitary of the "ancien regime".
Focusing on the economic level again, it is these overall relations which transform the artisans or farmers to a hybrid or informal form of piece-"wage labourer and proletarian", as Marx says: "The transition from the feudal mode of production takes place in two different ways. The producer may become merchant and capitalist (...) Alternatively, however, the merchant may take direct control of production himself (...) This method (...) without revolutionizing the mode of production, it simply worsens the conditions of the direct producers, transforms them into mere  wage-labourers and proletarians (...) appropriating their surplus labour on the basis of the old mode of production (...) The merchant is the real capitalist and pockets the greater part of the surplus value" (Marx 1991, [Kiii, Penguin edition] pp. 452-53).  

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