Re Paul C's [6946-7]: In , Paul wrote: > One may speculate whether on a multiplicity of worlds, spread accross > the universe, on which intelligent life develops capitalism would usually > develop without first being enmeshed in slavery. But this can only be > speculation, we can never test it. Then, in  Paul constructs what he recognizes to be a hypothetical commodity-producing slave mode of production. Yet, in constructing in  his "generalized commodity producing slave economy" Paul has engaged in precisely the type of speculation that he warned Nicky about in . Or, even worse, since Paul constructs a hypothetical mode of production whereas capitalism -- even when it does not appear in specific social formations in 'pure' form -- is a product of history and a reality. Curiously, Paul's statement above in  _and_ his hypothetical model in  reminded me of some posts I wrote last year [5746; 5752; dated 6/2] on "the infinite quantity of logically plausible social theories theorem (IQLPSTT)". I guess an extension of the IQLPSTT would be the 'IQLPMPT' where MP stands for modes of production. This form of (idealist) speculation, though, is a far cry from a materialist analysis of history. For me, the only important point in Paul's  was his recognition that such a social formation would indeed represent a particular form of the "slave mode of production". After that has been recognized, then we can not meaningfully apply that hypothetical model to an analysis of the *capitalist* mode of production _even where_ there are remnants of pre-capitalist relations including slavery. I will certainly grant Paul that *given the way he defines terms* such as commodity, abstract labour, SNLT, value and surplus value *then* it makes sense to speak of surplus-value being produced by slaves. Yet, those who reject those definitions as trans-historical will have a different take on this issue. For example, those who understand value as a *specific* social relationship will not be happy with the idea that it can be usefully applied towards the understanding of all class societies. These is, though, another issue: where value is the organizing principle of society, objects which are *not commodities* come to be treated *as if* they were commodities. Thus, non-produced objects come to be treated in the market and by classes *as if* they were commodities. Similarly, products produced outside of the capital/ wage-labour relation -- including those produced by slaves in capitalist social formations -- come to be treated *as if* they are commodities (yet, the latter is only possible if we define commodities and value in trans-historical ways). We should not confuse the fact that objects can be treated *as if* they are commodities with the belief that they therefore *are* commodities. In solidarity, Jerry PS to Rakesh re : I don't have time now to hunt for the #s of OPE-L posts where I discussed the question. I will note, though, that I made my ideas on this subject known on *many* threads -- coincidentally in looking for the posts #s for the IQLPSTT thread, I noticed that I discussed a similar question in the "'s' is for surplus value" thread last Spring. And, of course, there was our prior discussion on slavery. In any event, I don't have time to respond and I'm trying to cut back on the quantity of posts I author.
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