Genovese veers to the right

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Wed Jul 19 02:04:42 MDT 1995


>  He pointed to the
>uncomfortable fact that the standard of living of Southern slaves was
>higher than that of factory workers in Europe and equal to that of factory
>workers in the North.

Standard of living how understood?  And there is this:

"It is however clear that in any economic formation of society where
use-value rather than the exchange-value of the product predominates,
surplus labor will be restricted by a more or less confined set of needs,
and that no boundless thirst for surplus labor will arise from the
character of production itself....But as soon as peoples whose production
still moves within the lower forms for slave-labor, the corvee, etc. are
drawn into a world market dominated by the capitalist mode of production,
whereby the sale of their products for export develops into their principal
interest, the civilized horrors of over-work are grafted onto the barabric
horrors of slavery, serfdom etc. Hence the Negro labour in the sourthern
states of the American Union preserved a moderately patriarchal character
as long as production was chiefly directed to the satisfaction of immediate
local requirements.  But in proportion as the export of cotton became of
vital interest to those states, the over-working over the Negro, and
sometimes the consumption of his life in seven years of labour, became a
factor in a calculated and calculating system.  It was no longer a question
of obtaining from him a certain quantity of useful products, but rather of
the production of surplus value itself."

Capital vol I, 345. Vintage.

Is Genovese comparing surplus value production in the North with slave
production of use values in the South before it was  drawn into the world
market?

By the way, as Grossmann pointed out, capitalist slavery was key to early
capital accumulation, which in view of the then almost constant technique,
could only expand surplus value production on the basis of simple extensive
accumulation, consequenly only through increased employment of labor
power--  That labor power to be "found"  on the one hand in the liberation
of serfs from the instruments of production in the enclosure movement; and
on the other hand by 'turning of Africa into a warren for the hunting of
black skins."



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