Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Fri Oct 20 12:13:25 MDT 2000

>>> lnp3 at panix.com 10/20/00 12:49PM >>>

''Time on the Cross'' maintained that the slave system in the South yielded
a higher rate of economic growth; that slave plantations were more
efficient than free farms; -clip-


CB: The following footnote from _Capital_ ( The Chapter entitled "The Labour-Process
and the Process of Producing Surplus-Value") suggests a contrary opinion on the
efficiency of slavery.

The greater economic growth suggests super-exploitation: no wages means the cost of
labour power has been forced to its absolute minimum. And by the way, where else does
"economic growth" occur except in a capitalist system ? Feudalism didn't have
"economic growth" .  "Economic growth" is accumulation.

This passage is also pertinent to the consciousness of resistence , not consent, in


"This is one of the circumstances that makes production by slave labour such a costly
process. The labourer here is, to use a striking expression of the ancients,
distinguishable only as instrumentum vocale, from an animal as instrumentum
semi-vocale, and from an implement as instrumentum mutum. But he himself takes care to
let both beast and implement feel that he is none of them,'but is a man. He convinces
himself with immense satisfaction, that he is a different being, by treating the one
unmercifully and damaging the other con amore. Hence the principle, univerially
applied in this method of production, only to employ the rudest and heaviest
implements and such as are difficult to damage owing to their sheer clumsiness. In the
slave-states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico, down to the date of the civil war,
ploughs constructed on old Chinese models, which turned up the soil like a hog or a
mole, instead of making furrows, were alone to be found. Conf. J. E. Cairnes. "The Sl!
ave Power," London, 1862, p. 46 sqq. In his "Sea Board Slave States," Olmsted tells
us: "I am here shown tools that no man in his senses, with us, would allow a labourer,
for whom he was paying wages, to be encumbered with; and the excessive weight and
clumsiness of which, I would judge, would make work at least ten per cent greater than
with those ordinarily used with us. And I am assured that, in the careless and clumsy
way they must be used by the slaves, anything lighter or less rude could not be
fumished them with good economy, and that such tools as we constantly give our
labourers and find our profit in giving them, would not last out a day in a Virginia
comficid-much lighter and more free from stones though it be than ours. So, too, when
I ask why mules are so universally substituted for horses on the farm, the first
reason given, and confessedly the most conclusive one, is that horses cannot bear the
treatment that they always must get from negroes; horses are always !
soon foundered or crippled by them, while mules will bear cudgelli
materially injured, and they do not take cold or get sick, if neglected or overworked.
But I do not need to go further than to the window of the room in which I am writing,
to see at almost any time, treatment of cattle that would ensure the immediate
discharge of the driver by almost any farmer owning them in the North."

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