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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:39 pm 
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If you want me to re-merge any posts to the original just let me know which.

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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:50 am 
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my last post with links on intenational exchange fits with the original.

Quote:
You began this by saying that SCP as a dominant mode of production DID exist, later you claim it didn't exist as a dominant mode of production, later still you claim it did.

SCP is not a dominant mode of production, can not be a dominant mode of production.


My mistake is that in my first post I gave figures by Dijkman estimating that production for exchange was "quite predominant" (in England, Holland and Flanders), ie commercialisation, but that doesn't necessarily mean SCP. So eg in Holland it seems it was already capitalism, whereas in case of Flemish linen industry it is SCP. Still in the same post though I immediately added Kautsky's qualification that "simple commodity-production has never prevailed in its pure form, but always mixed with other forms".

In my next post I wrote that:
Quote:
I think pre-capitalist England is the main example in Marx of simple commodity production (before primitive accumulation dispossessed individual private proprietors), because it is the greatest extent in which SCP pre-dominated (it is self-evident that SCP never existed as a full MoP.): {quoting Marx}

In England, serfdom had practically disappeared in the last part of the 14th century. The immense majority of the population [1] consisted then, and to a still larger extent, in the 15th century, of free peasant proprietors, whatever was the feudal title under which their right of property was hidden. In the larger seignorial domains, the old bailiff, himself a serf, was displaced by the free farmer.


When I said that SCP pre-dominated to the greatest extent, I again immediately qualified that "it is self-evident that SCP never existed as a full MoP), ie in England it existed to the greatest extent if you compare throughout history. The Marx quote even seems more categorical than me, ie that it predominated society. And Artesian at one point (correct me if I misunderstood) seems to have entertained the possibility that in the "transition" stage between feudalism and capitalism, that might have been true.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:00 am 
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Quote:
And Artesian at one point (correct me if I misunderstood) seems to have entertained the possibility that in the "transition" stage between feudalism and capitalism, that might have been true.


You misunderstood


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:56 am 
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Let's assume Marx is correct that

Quote:
In England, serfdom had practically disappeared in the last part of the 14th century. The immense majority of the population consisted then, and to a still larger extent, in the 15th century, of free peasant proprietors


Let's assume that Christopher Dyer is correct that

Quote:
The existence of large numbers of smallholders is in itself evidence of the penetration of small-scale exchange throughout English society by the eleventh century, because such people needed to buy foodstuffs to supplement the produce of their holdings, and they had surplus labour to sell.


That is, commodity exchange, however slowly and ever so marginally, expanded (commercialisation). And it appeared that you do not disagree with this either:

Quote:
That commodity production exists, expands, in periods of transition, isn't the issue, at all, or ever. That "simple commodity production" exists as a mode of production is the issue always.


So the 2 premises are: there were smallholders, they engaged in small-scale exchange.

I think this what Marx, Engels, Kautsky meant by simple/small/petty commodity production. You said that you don't want to argue about phrases, but that seems what you're doing in fact.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 5:19 pm 
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What Engels and Kautsky "meant" isn't what's at stake. What's at stake is Marx's critique of capital. The purpose of SCP is to introduce some notion of the commodity as deriving from, springing forth "naturally" or almost "naturally" from the simple exchange of direct producers-- and that's just ********.

At the same time as you, and others, posit this simple exchange by direct producers, you make reference to the abstract models of homeowners and carpenters, where the carpenter provides furniture on demand for the individual homeowner in exchange for money... thereby IGNORING what you, and Engels, and others have put out there as SCP, the simple exchange between direct producers, ignoring that you have successfully refuted such simple exchange by direct producers in your model of homeowners using money to make the exchange. The use of money is not a simple, unmediated exchange between or among direct producers.

And then of course you miss the real content of your own model of homeowners and carpenters-- that such "SCP" does NOT amount to social labor, no more than a tailor working directly for a rich landowner, providing clothing on retainer basis, is engaging in social labor.

Commodity production, as other than a peripheral, marginal activity, as other than an exchange of surplus product, that is to say as an exchange of, by, and for value, and of by and for the accumulation of value, never exists in a "simple" mode. Only when labor is forced to present itself as a commodity, as value producing, do we get a mode of commodity production.

SCP is an attempt to project back, to impose a sort of linear evolution on capitalism from pre-capitalist modes, and no such projection accounts for............the actual dispossession of the direct producers, the separation of the laborers from the conditions of labor that is the essential relation of capitalism.

I don't know how many times I have to repeat that to you, but I'm willing to keep at it, as long as you persist.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 4:55 am 
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On the derivation of the commodity (or money, ie not capital or the evolution of capitalism), the problem of barter indeed is tricky, so of course you had to bring it up. The starting point, the simple form of value (when there is clearly not yet exchange value proper, ie money), is in some respects barter. I don't think you can get around that, especially as he later in chapter 3 says that gold is bartered at its source of production. Marx gets attacked for this by various (unorthodox, radical, not even Marxist) people. I think it's a bit overreaction. The point is to trace the genesis of money. If not by barter (because that would fit with standard story) then often they look for things like the state (and so Marx is also criticised for ignoring the state). The emergence of money presupposes a whole historical development, it was not a consciousness invention to make barter easier (though it did facilitate expansion of exchange).

You're right that I have in mind that SCP already assumes money exchange (though indeed just for the surplus product), so not unmediated (or direct) exchange. But, to again assure you, that small-scale money exchange is not capitalist exchange, production for exchange value as such, but rather for subsistence (C-M-C). Once more, production for that small-scale money exchange is not a simpler version or precursor of capitalist accumulation.

Quote:
Only when labor is forced to present itself as a commodity, as value producing, do we get a mode of commodity production.

surely you meant labor-power

Quote:
no such projection accounts for............the actual dispossession of the direct producers,


But in SCP direct producers are not dispossessed, hence not capitalist, like I've been stressing the whole time.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:33 am 
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And your point is? Exactly what is the point of those who present SCP as a transition, or interim, or precursor, or pre capitalist formation? Historical sidelight? Evolution of commodity production? Nostalgia for direct exchange, for a world of small, independent produces, exchanging goods at their village fairs, or in their huts?


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 7:51 am 
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It relates to the difficult issue (on which disintegrated the Ricardian school) of the process of the formation of the average rate of profit. As Engels says in 1895:

Quote:
Sombart, as well as Schmidt, — I mention the illustrious Loria merely as an amusing vulgar-economist foil — does not make sufficient allowance for the fact that we are dealing here not only with a purely logical process, but with a historical process, and its explanatory reflection in thought, the logical pursuance of its inner connections.

The decisive passage is to be found in Marx, Vol. III,:

"The whole difficulty arises from the fact that commodities are not exchanged simply as commodities, but as products of capitals, which claim participation in the total amount of surplus-value, proportional to their magnitude, or equal if they are of equal magnitude."

To illustrate this difference, it is supposed that the workers are in possession of their means of production, that they work on the average for equally long periods of time and with equal intensity, and exchange their commodities with one another directly.


etc.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... pp.htm#law

I won't quote the whole thing.

That this is the issue can also be seen from Dunaevsky's critique of Rubin (starting with section 4) https://libcom.org/library/law-value-un ... -dunaevsky


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 10:58 am 
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Unbelievable Engels' writes:

Quote:
To illustrate this difference, it is supposed that the workers are in possession of their means of production, that they work on the average for equally long periods of time and with equal intensity, and exchange their commodities with one another directly.


It is supposed, get it, as a hypothetical exercise?-- like Smith supposes that SCP differs from "merchant capital" because under SCP the producers "sell in order to buy" as opposed to merchant's who "buy in order to sell."

Where have such distinctions existed? How can there be a system of "selling in order to buy," that does not include buying in order to sell?"

Where has exchange ever been conducted on a commodity basis, on a value basis, for the accumulation as opposed to consumption for use that didn't involve merchants, that didn't require selling to buy as well as buying to sell?

Hypothetical is one thing-- for illustrative purposes it can be allowed. But not for this.


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 Post subject: Re: Historical existence of simple commodity production
PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2016 2:14 pm 
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If you continue to read, Marx is further quoted as saying that it was also historically the case (that's what Engels expands upon).

Here's another passage from the same chapter in Marx (which Engels doesn't quote, and I assume it was originally by Marx or else surely the Engels-bashers would have long called foul about it). Marx speaks about direct exchange:

Quote:
For prices at which commodities are exchanged to approximately correspond to their values, nothing more is necessary than 1) for the exchange of the various commodities to cease being purely accidental or only occasional; 2) so far as direct exchange of commodities is concerned, for these commodities to be produced on both sides in approximately sufficient quantities to meet mutual requirements, something learned from mutual experience in trading and therefore a natural outgrowth of continued trading; and 3) so far as selling is concerned, for no natural or artificial monopoly to enable either of the contracting sides to sell commodities above their value or to compel them to undersell. By accidental monopoly we mean a monopoly which a buyer or seller acquires through an accidental state of supply and demand.

https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/w ... 3/ch10.htm


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