Slave mode of production . Socio-economic formation, based on the exploitation by the class of slavers of the class of slaves, who are not only deprived of ownership of the means of production, but are themselves the property of their employers, as “talking instruments of labor ”
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- 1 Emergence
- 2 Slave form of exploitation
- 1 Ownership of the means of production and slaves
- 2 Simple work cooperation
- 3 Opposition between manual and intellectual work
- 4 Natural character of slave production
- 5 Fundamental economic law of the slave society
- 6 Reproduction in the conditions of slavery
- 3 Development of commercial and monetary relations
- 1 Commercial capital and usury capital
- 1.1 Commercial capital
- 1.2 Usury capital
- 1.3 Production, mercantile circulation and money
- 4 The State in the slave regime
- 5 Disintegration
- 1 Fundamental contradiction
- 2 Opposition between city and country
- 3 Contradiction between large farms and small producers
- 4 Contradiction between productive forces and production relations
- 6 Disappearance
- 1 Emergence of the colonato
- 2 Sharpening the class struggle
- 7 Vestiges of slave relations
- 8 Historical role
- 9 Sources
- 10 External links
- 1 Commercial capital and usury capital
The slave regime is the first antagonistic class formation, which arises as a consequence of a long period of decomposition of the regime of the primitive community and establishment of the institutes of the society divided into classes: private property and the State. It reaches its peak in Greece and Ancient Rome , where on its basis an efficient economy was built at that time and a high culture: philosophy and art .
This mode of production emerged between the fourth and third millennium AD and lasted in the most developed countries of Asia , Europe and Africa until the 3rd and 5th centuries AD, reaching its maximum splendor in ancient Greece and later in Rome . The fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century of ne, started the disappearance of the slave mode of production.
The process of emergence of slave production relations was different in different countries. At the same time, there were common fundamental economic conditions for all countries and peoples, which prepared the transition to the slave mode of production: the development of the productive forces to such a level that it was possible to create not only the necessary product, but also the additional product; the emergence of individual finances and private ownership of the means of production; the development of patrimonial inequality, the formation of a wealthy elite, who owned a large estate and needed a complementary workforce. All these factors were formed already in the period of the disintegration of the gentilicio regime. Little by little but inexorably based on its development,
Slavery form of exploitation
Ownership of the means of production and slaves
The economic basis of the slave mode of production is the possession by the slave class of all the fundamental conditions of production: land, instruments and objects of work and the producer himself, the slave. Consequently, all the product created was the property of the slave owner. Of the general mass of products created, only a tiny part reached the slaves, which was barely enough to replace the spent labor force and for a semi-hungry existence. This part of the product created by themselves was not enough for the normal reproduction of their physical conditions for work, so they ran out quickly. Slaves completely lacked all kinds of economic, political and legal rights. In ancient Rome the slave was called a “talking” instrument of work unlike beasts and inanimate instruments of work. Having no chance to appropriate the created product and improve his situation with more intense work, the slave was not interested in the results of his work. He lacked all kinds of encouragement regarding work in general and the increase in his productivity. Full ownership by the slave class of all conditions of production and the absence of any interest on the part of the slave in work, conditioned the original way of unifying slavery, the means of production with the labor force: the frankly violent form of forced labor. In addition to slave ownership, there was the small property of free peasants and artisans, which in the first period of existence of the slave society played a large role in social production. As the slave mode of production developed, these small forms of property passed into the hands of the large slave owners and their former owners became slaves.
Simple cooperation of work
The jobof slaves was applied basically in the form of simple cooperation, that is, it was a grouping of the mass of slaves under the control of the slaves, who carried out more or less homogeneous work. The division of labor among slaves was extraordinarily insignificant. The degree of development of the instruments of work was such that to achieve a good result in production the use of a mass of slaves and not of isolated slaves was required. Only in this case could sufficient additional product be obtained, the obtaining of which was the purpose of slave production. The violent coercion of slaves to work required the maintenance of numerous foremen, and this could only be justified in the event that there were a large mass of slaves simultaneously employed.
Based on the work of slaves, the productive forces continued to develop. The application of the simple cooperation of the slaves already in the slave regime allowed to develop complicated types of artisan production, that is, industrial: extraction of iron, copper, silver and gold minerals, the smelting of metals, the manufacture of various types of weapons, work instruments, ornaments, yarn, fabrics, etc. Irrigation systems were created with the work of slaves, very perfect for those times in Babylon , Egypt and other countries. However, unlike the cooperation of the work of the primitive community, which brought together people with equal rights and free of exploitation, who were at an extremely low level of economic development, slavery cooperation brought together producers subjugated by the exploiters, who had no interest in the results of the work. This determines the contradictory nature of slave cooperation.
Opposition between manual and intellectual work
Under the conditions of the slave mode of production the opposition arose between manual labor and intellectual labor. Manual labor was the destiny of slaves, and intellectual work was the privilege of the ruling classes, with the particularity that people engaged in intellectual work ruthlessly exploited those engaged in manual labor. In this the opposition between manual work and intellectual work was manifested, which had a markedly class character. The development of the productive forces and the result of production made it possible to separate intellectual labor from manual labor because the forced and heavy labor of slaves provided additional product for slavers, which allowed them not to engage in manual labor. As the slave production relations developed, the mass of slaves who worked for the slavers increased and their exploitation increased, and manual labor became a reprehensible occupation for the free citizen. Slavery was devoted to state affairs, politics, philosophy, literature, and art. The flourishing of the sciences, art, and literature of the ancient world was closely related to the separation of intellectual and manual labor. The increase of the productive forces, the development of the State, of art and science were possible only on condition that the work was divided between the mass dedicated to manual labor and a few privileged ones, who directed the works and took care of the affairs. of the State, of science and art. Slavery was the simplest form that spontaneously arose from such a division of labor.
Natural character of slave production
Slave production had a natural character. The products were created basically for consumption within the limits of each hacienda. The natural character of slave production was conditioned by the insufficient development of the social division of labor and also by the direct, violent and extra-economic coercion of slaves in production. The conversion of the free man into a slave generally occurred as a result of an act of direct violence. “The labor market is constantly being supplied with labor – wrote Marx – due to war, piracy, etc., and these robberies also developed outside of a whole process of circulation, since they constitute purely and simply acts of appropriation of the labor force of others through blatant physical violence.
Slave society fundamental economic law
In slavery the additional product was intended primarily to meet the personal needs of the exploiters. Due to the low level of development of the productive forces or the productivity of slave labor not interested in the results of production, the additional product was insignificant. With all this, the wealth of some slave states and their rulers reached enormous proportions. As slave production developed, the parasitism of the ruling classes grew. Thus the exploitation of slaves was further increased. The additional product and part of the necessary product were extracted by the slavers from the slaves using the cruellest methods of violence.
The creation of the additional product for the parasitic consumption of the slavers through direct, extra-economic coercion in order to the work of the direct producers, the slaves, constitutes the fundamental economic law of the slave society.
Reproduction in the conditions of slavery
In the slave mode of production simple reproduction was inherent. It was evident that in slavery production did not remain stagnant. Productive forces and relations of production developed, the population increased, people’s needs grew, and production increased. This increase was so slow that it became noticeable over many generations. The main cause of the slow increase in production was the parasitic consumption of the ruling classes with respect to the additional product created by slave labor. No additional product was earmarked for production development, or hardly any additional product. This deprived production of the material basis for its expansion. The additional product created by the additional labor of the slaves was generally in the form of use values, that is, as objects and articles consumed directly by the slavers. “The ancients did not think,” he wrote.Marx – even in converting the surplus product into capital. If they thought about it, it was to an insignificant degree. The existence among them of the true hoarding in great proportions, indicates the great quantity of leftover products that was left vacant in Antiquity. ”
Development of commercial and monetary relations
The increase in the social division of labor in the conditions of domination of private property led to the fact that, despite the natural character of slave production, mercantile production and commercial exchange achieved a certain development. The development of the trades had primary significance. The growth of specialization and the volume of agricultural production played a very important role in the development of commercial relations in the slave society. The creation of products for sale (merchandise) was carried out by smallholders and also by slavers who appropriated the additional product created by the work of slaves and partially destined them for sale. As production developed, the slavers expanded the exchange on account of the increase in the additional product. Mercantile exchange is gradually transformed into a regular trading system. Markets appeared and commercial ties were established. Local trade was formed not only, but also international trade.Egypt , China , Babylon , Greece , Rome, and other countries maintained active international trade. As a result of increased production and trade, monetary circulation developed. Metal coins appeared.
Commercial capital and usury capital
With the passing of time, money began to be used not only as a universal equivalent, but also as a medium of exchange. In different cases it served as an instrument for the appropriation of the results of the work of others. The money used in this way was converted into capital. Money holders bought the goods they later sold at higher prices. As a result of the operation carried out, the initial amount of money grew and provided profits to its owner … the money that is valued is capital. The earliest forms of capital were historically commercial capital and usury capital.
It is the capital placed in the sphere of the exchange of merchandise, which provides certain profits to the merchant, who acts as an intermediary in the exchange of merchandise operations. By buying and reselling the goods, taking advantage of the difference in prices, and sometimes deceiving the buyers and the sellers, the merchants appropriated a fairly high part of the additional product created by the slaves and a part of the product created by the slaves. free small producers (farmers and artisans) of goods.
Interest-bearing form of capital. Usury capital appeared in the period when the regime of the primitive community decomposes and the slave state arises. The usurers participated in the exploitation of slaves and serfs, they gave loans to slave owners and feudal lords. The interest demanded by the loan absorbed not only all the surplus product, but also a part of the necessary product of the slaves and the serfs. Usury capital helped prepare the conditions for the capitalist mode of production to emerge. On the one hand, it pushed small producers, who became wage laborers, to ruin and proletarianization, and on the other hand accelerated the accumulation of money capital. Under the capitalist mode of production, the basic form of interest-bearing capital is loan capital. Usury capital continues to play an important role in colonial and dependent countries where economic-social relations are delayed and imperialism maintains its yoke.
It had the form of a loan or loan granted in cash or in means of production and consumer items, which had to be repaid with a credit, that is, with a surcharge on the magnitude of the amount loaned. Usury capital also offered the possibility of appropriating a part of the additional product created by the slaves if the loan was granted to the slave owner, and a part of the product by the peasants and artisans in case it was granted to them. Usury capital contributed to ruining small producers and making them slaves for not being able to pay their debts. Usury also contributed to the intensification of the exploitation of slaves.
Production, commercial circulation and money
Mercantile production and circulation, as well as the money related to them, commercial capital and usury capital served slave production, which by its base was natural. Furthermore, mercantile production, being an appendix to natural production, had a subordinate, limited character. Yet despite this, mercantile and monetary relations were in contradiction with the natural economy and with the very essence of the slave mode of production. This further complicated and sharpened the incompatible contradictions of the slave regime.
The State in the slave regime
Slave society was divided into two fundamental classes: slaves and slavers. This class division of society was endorsed in all the slave states of antiquity by certain legal norms, such as the legislation of Athens, Roman law, etc. According to the laws of the slave states, slaves were not only considered citizens, that is, members of society with full rights, but not even people. The slave could be killed or subjected to all kinds of violence and that was not considered a crime in the slave society. In addition to slaves and slavers, in slave society there were the classes of free peasants and artisans, merchants, including the usurers. The interests of the slavers were safeguarded by the slave state. History records a few forms of ancient states: oriental despotism with unlimited monarch power; city-states (Greece and Rome) with democratic and aristocratic forms of administration. In the slave states democracy was extended only to the free part of the population, while slaves entirely lacked all kinds of rights. However, whatever the form of the slave state, it was always an apparatus of violence, of class rule, that safeguarded the property of the slavers, defending the interests of the slave class both inside and outside the country. city-states (Greece and Rome) with democratic and aristocratic forms of administration. In the slave states democracy was extended only to the free part of the population, while slaves entirely lacked all kinds of rights. However, whatever the form of the slave state, it was always an apparatus of violence, of class rule, that safeguarded the property of the slavers, defending the interests of the slave class both inside and outside the country. city-states (Greece and Rome) with democratic and aristocratic forms of administration. In the slave states democracy was extended only to the free part of the population, while slaves entirely lacked all kinds of rights. However, whatever the form of the slave state, it was always an apparatus of violence, of class rule, that safeguarded the property of the slavers, defending the interests of the slave class both inside and outside the country.
Slave labor, which formed the basis of the life of slave society, lacked material and spiritual stimuli and was therefore unfruitful. The coercive unity of the producers and the means of production implied the internal incompatible contradiction of the slave mode of production. Here is the fundamental contradiction, from which other contradictions were derived.
Inherent in slave society was antagonism between producers (slaves) and instruments of labor , which were means of violent exploitation. In their eagerness to free themselves from the heavy forced labor, slaves often destroyed instruments of labor. That is why in slavery, the crudest instruments were generally used, those that were difficult to break.
Simple cooperation up to a point when the influx of new slaves at low prices was sufficient was an original means of solving the fundamental contradiction. The reduction of the mass of slaves, made that the cooperation of the work was not economically beneficial, ceasing to be the form of organization of production capable of carrying out the development of the productive forces.
Opposition between city and country
The divorce between the city and the country in the conditions of slavery had an antagonistic character and manifested itself as an opposition between the city and the country. On the one hand, the separation of the city from the countryside played a positive role, as it fueled the development of labor specialization and increased productivity, and on the other hand, this divorce made the city exploit and further dominate the city. field, causing a decrease in agricultural production. Despite the extraordinary advancement of crafts, agriculture was the most important branch of material production, so its decline exerted a notable influence on the development of all social production.
Contradiction between large hacienda and small producers
One of the most significant characteristics of the slave mode of production was the contradictory existence of the types of estates: the large estates of the slave class, based on the exploitation of slave labor, and the estate of small free producers (peasants and artisans). On the one hand, both types of haciendas were economically interrelated and complemented each other in the overall system of social production, and on the other hand, a constant struggle was being waged between them.
The slave states formed their armies with free citizens, mainly peasants and artisans. However, smallholders were not always in a position to face competition from the large slaveholding estates and they went bankrupt, became involved in debt, and frequently became slaves. On the other hand, free peasants and artisans fought and captured slaves for slavers, which contributed to strengthening their estates, while the small estates abandoned by constant wars were ruined and the foundation of slavery was undermined. A vicious circle formed from which slave society could not escape.
Contradiction between productive forces and production relations
The productive forces under the conditions of slave domination, despite their slow development, grew considerably and were at a higher level compared to the gentilicio regime. This is manifested above all in a certain improvement in work instruments such as the improvement of work practices and the accumulation of work experiences. In the conditions of mastery of the slave mode of production, metal instruments were developed on a vast scale, great successes were achieved in the improvement of working methods on the land, in irrigation, in the extraction and processing of metals, in the constructions, in the transport, in the elaboration of fabrics, the pottery and the goldsmith.work . The interests of the development of the productive forces demanded that the direct producer be interested in the most efficient use of labor instruments. Thus arose the social need to replace the old slave production relations with new ones that corresponded to the level and character of the productive forces.
Emergence of the colonato
The deepening of the contradictions of the slave society, originated its crisis that was externalized in all spheres of the slave society. The crisis manifested itself above all in the massive ruin of small producers and in the decline of large slave farms. In this situation new forms of exploitation of the haciendas appeared, germs of new relations of production. In its most developed form, this process was operated in the Roman Empire, especially in its last centuries of existence. Slavery continued to be the base of production, while the possibility of increasing the mass of slaves and taking advantage of their work began to decrease. The strength of the previous warrior organization in Rome (free peasants and artisans) gradually declined due to the ruin of their small estates. The time of the great and triumphant wars had passed, the supply of slave supplies was dwindling, and the siege of the barbarian tribes upon the already weakened empire grew. When large estates based on the cooperation of the work of large masses of slaves became economically less advantageous estates, the tendency emerged to divide these large estates into small individual estates, which offered a certain stimulus in the results of work to people who They will work in them. A part of the large slave owners began to divide their large plots of land into small plots that they leased to the colonists, thus giving rise to the colonato system ( the supply of slave supplies was dwindling, and the barbarian tribes’ siege on the already weakened empire grew. When large estates based on the cooperation of the work of large masses of slaves became economically less advantageous estates, the tendency emerged to divide these large estates into small individual estates, which offered a certain stimulus in the results of work to people who They will work in them. A part of the large slave owners began to divide their large plots of land into small plots that they leased to the colonists, thus giving rise to the colonato system ( the supply of slave supplies was dwindling and the barbarian tribes’ siege on the already weakened empire grew. When the large estates based on the cooperation of the work of large masses of slaves became economically less advantageous estates, the tendency emerged to divide these large estates into small individual estates, which offered a certain stimulus in the results of the work to people who They will work in them. A part of the large slave owners began to divide their large plots of land into small plots that they leased to the colonists, thus giving rise to the colonato system ( They became less economically advantageous farms, the tendency emerged to divide these large farms into small individual farms, which offered a certain stimulus in the results of work to people who worked in them. A part of the large slave owners began to divide their large plots of land into small plots that they leased to the colonists, thus giving rise to the colonato system ( They became less economically advantageous farms, the tendency emerged to divide these large farms into small individual farms, which offered a certain stimulus in the results of work to people who worked in them. A part of the large slave owners began to divide their large plots of land into small plots that they leased to the colonists, thus giving rise to the colonato system (1st and 2nd centuryde ne). Many free peasants and craftsmen and slaves distinguished for their work became colonists. The landowners granted implements and seeds to the settlers, for which they paid them in money or in kind. In addition, the colonists were obliged to fulfill great benefits for the State. By converting the slaves to settler status, they acquired some economic independence and interest in work and the degree of their forced labor decreased relatively. In this way, in the conditions of the sharpening of the contradictions and the disintegration of the slave production mode, a new class of producers emerged, dependent on the large landowners (the colonists) who enjoyed a certain economic independence and were interested in the job.
Sharpening of the class struggle
The sharpening of economic contradictions led to the deepening of social contradictions. The confrontation between the class of slaves and slavers had a very impetuous character. Slaves fled their masters, engaged in sabotage at work , broke working instruments. The fundamental form of the fight of the slaves against their masters was the armed insurrection. The most significant were two great rebellions unleashed in Sicily (138-132 and 104-101 BC), the Aristonic insurrection in Asia Minor (133-129 BC), that of Spartacus in Italy (74-71 BC), among others.
These insurrections, although defeated, were of great historical importance, since they weakened the foundations of slavery and contributed to the transition to a new, more progressive economic-social regime. The class struggle between the small landowners and the large slave owners was also very bitter. In the last centuries of existence of the Roman Empire, several popular uprisings broke out in several of its territories, in which not only slaves, but also colonists, peasants and free artisans participated. These used to coincide with powerful invasions of the barbarian tribes that were in the decomposition phase of the gentile relations. All this ultimately generated the collapse of the slave state in Rome, the collapse of the slave regime.
Vestiges of slave relations
The slave mode of production has long since disappeared from the historical scene, but vestiges of slave relations are still preserved in different regions of the planet. These vestiges were kept under feudalism as well as under capitalism.
Under capitalism slavery was reborn and existed in one form or another, and in certain periods it acquired great proportions in the form of so-called plantation slavery. In the 17th – 19th centuries , in the islands of the West Indies and in other regions of Hispanic America , sugar cane , tobacco, coffee, cocoa and other products were exploited for the world capitalist market, using the force of work of black slaves brought from Africa . Plantation slavery was widespread in the colonies of England , Holland , Spain , Portugaland France until the second half of the 19th century . In the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries , the work of black slaves was widely applied in the cotton plantations of the southern United States, prompted by the development of the capitalist industry of cotton weaving. The plantation slavery that had appeared in the period of the emergence and establishment of the capitalist mode of production, later became a brake on the development of the productive forces and gradually lost its economic importance. As a result of the civil war of 1861 – 1864 , slavery was abolished in the United States. After the formal abolition of slavery and the prohibition of the slave trade, vestiges of slave relations have been preserved in the colonial and dependent countries of Latin America , Asia and Africa . The fight against the vestiges of slave exploitation in whatever form is a task of the first order of the peoples of the colonial and dependent countries. This task is an integral part of the liberating struggle of the peoples against oppression and underdevelopment.
Like any other mode of production, the slave mode of production occupies a special place in human history. This represented a leap in social development from its primitive state to civilization and once its possibilities were exhausted it disappeared. In its place due to the action of the law of correspondence between the level of development of the productive forces and the character of the relations of production, a more progressive mode of production emerged: the feudal mode of production. Bourgeois historians seek to refute the existence of class and economic contradictions in slave society. This is because they try to hide the objective reason for the class struggle in exploiting societies and the inevitability and necessity of the struggle of the oppressed against the yoke, violence and exploitation among men. Marxist social science, based on a deep analysis of historical facts, discovered the essence of the slave mode of production, the inherent economic and class contradictions, the peculiarities of its form of exploitation and examines this mode of production in motion, in its emergence, development and disappearance.