RE: [OPE] Question to Marxologists: Mode of production

From: Paul Cockshott (
Date: Sun Aug 31 2008 - 18:00:29 EDT

PS: please note also that my post highlighted more than simply
the presence or absence of keys in tractors. Surely you are 
aware that one of the most dangerous occupations in advanced
capitalist nations is agricultural labor. Did it not occur to you that
this is to a great degree a consequence of a particular design of 
farm technologies which are dangerous to agricultural workers?

This may have been in the back of your mind but you never
mentioned it.

You should not attribute all dangers to relations of prodution.
If people have to struggle with a recalcitrant nature, applying
large quantities of force in the process, then this is like to be
a more dangerous activity than clerical work for example.

Being a deep sea fisherman is going to be a relatively more 
dangerous than being a schoolteacher whatever the social relations.


The farm technologies which will be utilized by workers in a
socialist society will be designed by workers with their welfare in 
mind and not simply or only to increase the productivity of labor.

This seems to have an element of wishful thinking to it. Whether
what you say is right depends on how rich the socialist country is.
A wealthy socialist country with a high productivity of labour 
could built more expensive and safer tractors than one 
in the early stages of industrialisation.

Conversely, the safety standards of modern west european tractors
are much higher than those available in the 1930s, even though
we are talking of capitalist countries in both cases.

Mere social wealth, measured in labour productivity, is going to be 
as big a constraint on safety as the social relations. At equal
levels of labour productivity one would expect that a socialist 
country would have safer equipment, but if there is a big difference
in wealth, one can not assume this would be true.

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