Re: [OPE-L] marx's conception of labour

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Tue Nov 21 2006 - 21:41:32 EST

>On Mon, 20 Nov 2006, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:
>>Marks dismisses the description of social insect slavery as only
>>analogical in the strict biological sense.
>What do you suppose Marks meant by that?  I hope, more than that
>Leptothorax duloticus don't have bullwhips or drink mint juleps,
>and that L. curvispinosus don't live in cabins and play the banjo.

Hopes dashed. He does not mean more than that, for after all
entomology tells us no more about the enslavement of the Middle
Passage than it can about the enslavement of iron fillings by a
magnet. Marks, p. 104 What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee.

Also know whether the L. curvispinosus are captured in an immature
state and hatch later only
to be domesticated to perform 'housekeeping tasks' without
compulsion. But then that is domestication not slave making. Also
with us humans polygenesis has been discredited under the weight of
continuous, albeit often illegal, interbreeding. That is to say, pace
Louis Agassiz, human slavery involves members of one's own species
under continued compulsion. This case of ant "slavery" does not fit.
It's just a weak and meaningless analogy. Even from a functional
point of view. There is certainly no homology in a biological sense.

I did not know that there were Marxists who subscribed to EO Wilson's
sociobiology rather than the critique of it--as for example by the
Sociobiology Study Group of the Science for the People from which
above critique is drawn. Availabe through JSTOR.

I also think he makes a good case for why non human animals don't have culture.


>[The ant Leptothorax duloticus is known as a "slavemaker" and
>studies have shown that the "enslaved" L. curvispinosus suffer
>fitness costs such as "significant reductions in dealate queens,
>workers, and larvae relative to control colonies exclosed without
>slavemakers" ("Prudent Protomognathus and despotic Leptothorax
>duloticus: Differential costs of ant slavery", J. F.
>Hare and T. M. Alloway, Proceedings of the National Academy of
>Sciences of the United States of America, October 9, 2001).]
>Allin Cottrell

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Nov 30 2006 - 00:00:06 EST