Re: [OPE-L:8609] From Ian Wright on Weeks and Simple Commodity Production

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 11:17:05 EDT

Back on 3/13/03 Ian wrote:

>From: "Ian Wright" <>
>  There are many models that contain
>specialisation and interdependence without classes (e.g.
>Debreu's theory of value, Marx's discussion in Capital prior to the
>introduction of capitalists and workers, any organisational model
>of a firm etc.) I have every intention of studying models with
>classes, but you've got to start somewhere.
>All the best,

Dear Ian, I am glad that you have joined the list. Welcome.

I am interested in what you make of this  point raised by GA Cohen.

"In simple commodity production the produers are self employed market
exchangers. They are not free labourers, since they own their own
means of production. Yet could they not produce for the sake of
accumulating capital? It is irrevlevant here that simple commodity
production has never in fact characterized an entire economy. What
does matter is that if it were general and, moreover, oriented to the
expansion of exchange-value, then it would rapidly transform itself
into capitalist commodity production. In the competition between
producers, some would prosper and others would fail, and be reduced
to labouring for the successful ones. This is just what tends to
happen where simple commodity production in fact obtains. A 'process
of social differentiation [Dobb] slices the set of commodity
producers into a rudimentary bourgeoisie and a rudimentary

 From KM's Theory of History: A Defense, p. 186

Yours, Rakesh

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