"Sequestering" Resources-- the South and the North

Mike Friedman mikedf at amnh.org
Tue Jul 15 20:38:27 MDT 2003

I think you have to look at all of the factors of production -- in a
holistic manner, not a reductionist manner -- and how these were organized
in the antebellum south, including: 1) the monopoly of landownership, and
particular large-scale agricultural production (most especially cotton), 2)
the mobility of capital and its free access to productive activity in this
environment (most especially northern industrial capital), and 3) the
disposition of the bulk of the labor force as chattel slaves, not subject
to the market either as consumers, nor as sellers of labor power. Taken
together, I believe these elements ("contradiction between productive
forces and social relations" -- of course, Gramsci recognized workers as
part of the productive forces) were the necessary (but insufficient) basis
for the civil war. The fuse, I believe was the element of "will": that is
the pending rebellion of the slaves.


At 05:29 PM 7/15/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>Date: Tue, 15 Jul 2003 10:09:35 -0400
>From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
>Subject: Re: "Sequestering" Resources-- the South and the North
>dms wrote:
> > My reason for producing the data was to bolster the argument that 1.
> the war
> > definitely was about the development of productive forces .
>But sharecropping, seasonal labor contracts of the kind described by B.
>Traven in his "jungle" novels, cotton-picking by hand, convict labor and
>Jim Crow extra-economic constraints rather than wage labor and
>mechanization remained the rule until the 1950s. Seymour Melman wrote an
>article in the Journal of Economic History in 1949 titled "The
>Industrial Revolution in the South" that argued that pressures for lower
>production costs and market prices were finally driving the transition
>to the factory-farm. That's over 90 years after the end of the Civil War.

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