Cotton and Scarcity

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jan 20 11:42:23 MST 2003


David Schanoes:
>First, that production is not the product of the "resourcefulness," of the
>individual proprietor (notice how the terms used by Mr. Rosset converge so
>comfortably with the terms used to applaud the "entrepeneurial spirit.")
>The fact of the matter is that the small individual producers are in fact
>subsidized by the Cuban state.  The land, seed, oxen, are provided at a
>significant discount by the state's collective resources.  If everything
>from seed to transportation is subsidized and the farmer is allowed to sell
>products for market prices, then the magic isn't in the harmony of town and
>country or land and cultivator, the magic is in the market, a magic called
>profit.

I am afraid that you are coming at things from an entirely different angle
than I am. Once again you are superimposing the categories found in works
like "Value, Price and Profit" on what is essentially a discussion about
ecological sustainability. Therefore I will not attempt to answer your
critique except to say that new Cuban farming points in the right
direction, but is not in itself a blueprint especially under the conditions
of hardship under which it was created. For instance, I believe that sugar
and tobacco production are an utter waste of resources. Such a value
judgement transcends the question of whether or not profit is involved. Of
course, in the long-term sense, the exhaustion of the soil for the
production of commodities for the industrialized nation's pleasure involves
a discussion of imperialism, but I will leave that for another occasion.


Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org


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