[OPE-L:2582] Re: Classes and wage-labor

Paul Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Fri, 28 Jun 1996 05:17:25 -0700 (PDT)

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>Paul C asked in [OPE-L:2580]:
>> Why do you regard the ante-bellum south as a capitalist rather than
>> a slave society?
>The US in the pre-Civil War 19th Century was still primarily an
>agricultural society, although, manufacturing was increasing in scale
>primarily in the North and larger numbers of people were becoming
>proletarianized. What primarily defined the US as capitalist, I believe,
>was the level of integration of its economy within the world capitalist
>market and its dynamic of increasing industrialization, concentration, and
>Of course, specifying what the dominant mode of production is within
>certain social formations historically can be tricky since all social
>formations, to a lesser or greater degree, have elements and remnants of
>pre-capitalist modes of production. Clearly the slaveocracy was a dominant
>class in the South and it was precisely the conflict of class interest
>between capitalists in the North who required a class of "free" wage
>laborers and the slavocracy in the South which required the continued
>existence of slavery for plantation labor which set the stage for the
>Civil War.

Why identify the US with a social formation. Might there not be
several social formations within it?
Why not treat each state as a social formation?
Paul Cockshott