reply to DMS on Post

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Sep 8 12:23:04 MDT 2003

DMS wrote:
> Louis-
> The point to is twofold:  1. You and RB brought up the issues
> of technological development, comparative profitability, size,
> surplus production, home market, and mode of reproduction. To
> now claim when I answer these issues based on my under-
> standing of Post's article and the background history, that
> it's "all beside the point," sounds a little insincere.

Not at all. The problem is that you have no way of explaining why the
overwhelming majority of agricultural (and mining--although this is not
in Post's purview) production in the tropic and semitropics, where labor
was in short supply, relied on coercion. The fact that the very same
class of people were supplying manufacturers on this basis well into the
20th century in a manner that was virtually identical to the plantations
of the 17th century requires some kind of explanation. Neither Brenner
nor Post has any answer for the intractable tendency for native peoples
to be dragooned as indentured servants, slaves, debt peons, leased
convict labor and other forms that simply having nothing to do with New
England or Ohio in the mid-19th century. These plantations were
labor-intensive operations that did little to introduce machinery, but
they were supplying some of the most advanced Fordist factories in the
entire world. The Firestone corporation was Henry Ford's main supplier
of tire rubber.

> 2. The discussion begins, supposedly, with a critique of Post's
> article in the Journal of Agrarian Change.  That article quite
> specifically concentrates on the contradictions and faults
> in the slavery system particularly in sustaining expanded
> reproduction.  The discussion inherently includes an analysis
> of the forces that made the US Civil War an inevitability.
> That inevitability is contained within the different forms
> of expropriation.

I know. Post learned that trick from Brenner. If you leave out entire
continents and centuries, it relieves you of the need to answer your


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