Re: [OPE] Marx's explanation regarding the need for the U.S. South to obtain new territory

From: Jurriaan Bendien <>
Date: Thu Feb 17 2011 - 05:57:20 EST


I just did a quick google with the Texas State Historical Association who mentioned this. I assume they didn't just make up the figues.

Marcel van der Linden reviews some arguments about why slavery was used in his book Workers of the World (which I edited)

Jairus Banaji argues that the difference between wage slavery and chattel slavery should not be exaggerated


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Paul Zarembka
  To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list
  Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2011 4:34 AM
  Subject: Re: [OPE] Marx's explanation regarding the need for the U.S. South to obtain new territory

  On 2/16/2011 6:13 AM, Jurriaan Bendien wrote:


    In 1849, a census of the cotton production of Texas reported 58,073 "bales" (500 pounds each). In 1852, Texas was in eighth place among the top ten cotton-producing states of the US. The 1859 census credited Texas with a yield of 431,645 bales.

  Very interesting data -- what is the source, Jurriaan?

    The total output volume of cotton therefore must have increased by more than seven times in one decade, and the amount of land under cultivation must have increased proportionally. But how much of this expansion of production was attributable specifically to slave labour is a moot point. Cotton production continued to grow also after the abolition of slavery; by the early 20th century Texas was the leading cotton producer in the US.

  That is a related question that Marx states but doesn't really explain to my satisfaction. That is, I don't understand the argument that slavery itself was required for the crops grown in the South - which indeed seems to be what Marx was arguing. He seemed to be saying more than that slavery was 'consistent' with the nature of agriculture production in the South.

  Thanks, Paul


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