Re: [OPE-L] Why aren't non-labourers sources of value?

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Tue Apr 19 2005 - 18:25:47 EDT

>  However, in slave and feudal societies labour *is* pretty much fixed
> by the prevalent social relations. In the slave mode the labourer it is
> treated as a talking animal and in the feudal mode peasants are bound to
> their plot of land (to put it very crudely). The fluid creativity of
> labour remains little more than a potential in such societies.

Hi Andy:

A historical note:  the 'fluidity' of the slave (who was as you say thought
of  by slaveowners and slaveocracy as a talking animal) in the South of the
US was limited by the state:  i.e. slaves could be put to work on different
jobs (skill permitting) by the slaveowner or sold to another slaveowner,
but the 'mobility' of slaves was limited by the abolition of slavery is most
parts of the world.  Thus, wage-workers could move freely (with passports
and visas, of course) between the US and European nations, but the
slaveowner could not sell his slaves in Europe or put his slaves to work
in Europe.  Indeed, there were very few parts of the world during that time
when slavery was legally permitted -- this was of great consequence
politically because it helped to isolate the South from the rest of the
world during the Civil War and after the Emancipation Proclamation,any
hope that the Confederate States of America  had of help from the UK  or
other foreign powers quickly evaporated.

There has never been a time historically since the dominance of the
capitalist mode of production when slaves were "fluid" in the same sense
as wage-workers were.  From plantation slavery in the Americas to
current forms of bonded labor in various parts of the world,  the use of
bonded labor is restricted -- if not necessarily in individual regions and
nation states,  then certainly internationally.    The 'fluidity' of the
wage-worker,  however, is a consequence of  the market and different
forms of property and class relations: it was and remains systematically
necessary for the expansion of capitalism.

A thought: In this sense, I suppose, future intelligent robots are
potentially more "fluid" than slaves since they are property which
_could be_ transported anywhere in the capitalist world and
productively utilized.

In solidarity, Jerry

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