Forwarded from Anthony (primitive accumulation, etc.)

dmschanoes dmschanoes at
Mon Sep 15 20:40:04 MDT 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>

But what does this have to do with, for example, coffee plantations?
Anybody who has been to Nicaragua has seen with their own eyes what this
entails. Workers go up into the hills and pick coffee beans by hand and put
them into bags on their back.  I just got back from Starbucks about an hour
or two ago and noticed a sign near the cash register that said that coffee
is the second most widely traded commodity in the world next to oil.

Well, the discussion sure has perked up in the last couple of hours hasn't
it?  Louis, what the hell are you doing in Starbucks anyway?  Buy a machine,
grind your own!  Just kidding Louis, couldn't resist.

But anyway regarding coffee-- Marx's analysis of capital and wage labor has
certainly been employed, deployed in the analysis and comprehension of
plantation and hacienda production, including coffee production.  I would
refer you first to an examination of coffee prices in the spot markets over
the past 2 years and then suggest you review the new coffee producers that
have come on line in Africa and Asia (Vietnam in particular).  You will see
tremendous overproduction, with planter-owners falling deeper into debt,
failing, wages being driven below subsistence levels, some consolidation of
holdings, and Brazil's large scale capital inputs into production.


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