Re: 'simple commodity production'

From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Thu Sep 16 2004 - 04:58:24 EDT


Ian, I think even today in capitalist economies even
income tax departments find it very hard to assess the
correct incomes of small businesses. How do you expect
individual workers to get this information so easily?
As a matter of fact, I would expect to find strong
family traditions in various lines of production in a
scp society. And one of the major reasons for this
would be absence of wages as public data. I think I
have taken care of your first point in my response to
Paul C. Cheers, ajit sinha
Paul C

I think your point about family tradition is significant,
but the same thing exists in capitalist countries as well
with sons following their fathers to the mines or shipyards.
It is just that the time periods are compressed. Industries
grow and shrink over the course of a century or so. In
pre-capitalist society the rate of technical change was
somewhat slower, and the family traditions could last longer.
But alongside that is another consequence. Because technical
change is slower, prices have a longer time to equilibrate, so
that less mobility is required to achieve it. The basic 
technologies of carpentry and wine production for example,
remained the same for a couple of millennia in the Mediterranean
prior to the development of capitalist industry. That gives
plenty of time for even marginal movements of labour between
vine growing and carpentry to establish customary prices
for the products of the two trades that were proportionate
to their labour inputs.

It should also be noted that some forms of pre-capitalist
production obviously had much higher levels of labour mobility
than others. Slavery had a relatively high mobility of labour
since the slave owners could allocate slaves labour in a
rational 'capitalistic' way. Where there exists a significant
amount of corvee as well, the feudal lord has disposition of
a relatively flexible amount of labour that can be directed
into the production of different crops.

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