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Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] Re: [ox-en] built-in infinite growth (was: Re: Meaning ofmarkets, scarcity, abundance)

Hi again

Michael Bauwens wrote:
Graham wrote

In general I don't believe in a model of discrete modes of production,
replacing one another in sequence, with transitions each time growing
productivity runs up against the limits of the mode. I know this is in
Marx - and bizarrely seems to have been accepted by huge numbers of non
and anti-marxists - but it's only in one place in Marx (the
Introduction..); everywhere Marx looks at modes of production in detail
(in Das Kapital, in the Grundrisse, even the 18th Brumaire etc) actual
societies are combinations of fragments of different modes of
production. The one that comes closest to a coincidence of society and
single mode of production is capitalism, and even that is not a total
coincidence (the peasantry and domestic service in Marx's time, free
software in ours, etc).

I disagree, I think that indeed there have always been mixtures, but, that 
there have been dominant modes as well; M-C'M' was certainly not dominant in 
the slave based system, but the slave system was; in the feudal system again 
capitalist exchange was minor, but tributary allocation major ...

I'm not saying that a mode of production itself is mixed, I'm saying
that actual societies are mixtures of modes of production. Roman society
was certainly not just made of slaves and slave-owners; it included a
very large proportion of subsistence farmers who do not work in a 'slave
mode of production', though they were integrated in the society.

 Medieval society included substantial numbers of slaves (by conquest,
like Arab slaves in the south of Portugal; through debt, as in Iceland;

What happens to a society does not depend only on internal tendencies
within the dominant mode of production working themselves out kind of
automatically, but also on the mix of other modes of production that
make up the society. So looking for an explanation for a supposed single
transition that always occurs from a slave society to a feudal society
is for me a waste of time. You end up forced into an 18th century view
of european history as a universal model; either the rest of the world
has no history (it's all 'asiatic mode of production'), or all other
history has to be force-fitted into the European form (if Japan became
feudal it must have been slave-based before (I know they did have some
slaves, but that's not the same thing)).

Our society is exceptional, in that the dominant mode of production
strongly tends to force out all others (so society and m-o-p tend to
coincide), and all local history really is superseded by global history.
But even here you have the oddity of some countries which went from
capitalism to really-existing-socialism and back (or not- Cuba), and
some which did not.

(sorry about the line length problems - for some reason your mails don't
wrap properly in thunderbird. Do you know why?)

thanks for the details below, I do not disagree with these points,


I prefer the side of Marx that says 'to know what went on needs picking
apart the actual details in the most concrete way possible, not fitting
the concrete into an abstract pre-given framework'.

not pre-given, a posteriori after the study of many concrete examples

Why did feudalism develop in the West, and not another

Why did the former win, if not because it somehow also offered a

 productive venue 
for society and its rulers?
People pre-Soviet Russia used to talk about two alternatives to
capitalism - 'socialism or barbarism', where barbarism is a result of
the 'mutual ruin of the two contending classes'. The barbarism

what happened to the western Roman empire. The ruling class wrecked
society and no other class was in a position to take over.

even run their army properly by the end. So the germanic peoples
invaded. They had had serfdom for centuries (as mentioned already in
Tacitus' Germania) and brought it with them. It was easier to integrate
the local population in some areas than others where the coloni system
was already established, but that's all. In England for example there
was no internal evolution at all; the Germanic peoples just imposed
their own system.

Talking about 'offering a more productive venue for society and its
rulers' assumes some kind of continuity, especially for the rulers,
which just wasn't there. Unless you're saying that from the

some hegelian spirit of history different 'rulers' incarnate the same
function. I don't think the Goths ever said "we'll take over the empire
for you, but only on condition that production is higher than it was
when your agriculture was based on latifundia with slaves". They just
said "we'll have that, and this is how we run things".

I"m interested in your answers,
My answers may change next time you ask - no way I'm an expert on

this. Gregers would be a better person to ask.. :-)



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