From: Paul C (clyder@GN.APC.ORG)
Date: Fri Jun 04 2004 - 18:12:28 EDT
Howard Engelskirchen wrote: > > >The social relation of value (Marx definitely refers to such a thing -- not >just to 'value' but to value as a social relation), as such, is at least a >mediated relation of producers to nature and to each other. Recall the >definition I offered: what is required is independent production of use >values for others. "Separate" or "independent" is a relation to nature and >to others. That makes it a relation of production, though not necessarily a >relation of direct production. A thief can take a product of someone else's >labor to market, making a product intended for self-subsistent domestic >consumption something instead independent and for others. > > I agree with the point that you are making Howard. The separate nature of the producers generally has a technological basis and it is this: - the units of production can not reproduce themselves entirely with their own products This is obviously the case of capitalist firms. But it is also the case for some peasant farms - certain means of production - iron tools for example need to be produced externally to the family unit, grain may need access to a mill to be ground etc. For slave latifundia the scale of production is such that, if the classical agricultural mannuals are anything to go by, the owners could at least aspire to autarchy. Thus in the ancient mode of production the separation of the units of production is much less well established than under capitalism, where the means of production enforce it. I think it is to this that we can attribute the tendancy of slave economies to collapse into feudal or share-cropping forms when the enforcing state power is removed. The state power and its raising of taxes in money enforces a higher degree of commodification than is strictly required by the development of the forces of production.
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