[OPE-L:5847] Re: Hello and Kliman's cat

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 17 Dec 1997 12:52:31 -0500 (EST)

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Terrence Mc Donough wrote:

> Dear OPE,
> I have been lurking for a while and am only now getting around to
> introducing myself.

First things first: welcome aboard, Terry!

Those who are also on PEN-L will recognize Terry since he is a
periodically frequent poster. In his self-description, he modestly
omitted telling us about the other schools where he has taught (e.g.
Canisius College, Cornell University, Center for Popular Economics, etc)
and his prior publications, including co-editing (with David M. Kotz
and Michael Reich) _Social structures of accumulation: the political
economy of growth and crisis_ (Cambridge University Press, 1994).

[Note to Martha C in W. Mass.: you can introduce yourself as well].

> I'll start my contribution with a question. What does Gerry L find
> wrong with Jurriaan's concept of a domestic mode of production?

Actually, I think Jurriann's comments were directed towards Andrew K and
Andrew's comments were directed towards Paul C. But since you ask, I'll
say a few words about Jurriann's post (only a few words since, with this
Net system, I don't have the ability to attach his post to yours).

Jurriann says that the current mode of production is "presumably
capitalist" -- a point we agree on, although I would take out the word
"presumably." His reasoning, though, is somewhat confusing. He says that
it is because one (i.e. Andrew K) is "using capitalist technology."

Yet, I don't think that the definition of a mode of production can be
reduced to how one individual or a individual family uses forks and feeds
cats. In other words, I view a mode of production as a periodization of
history rather than a micro phenomenon. This same difference is
underscored when Jurriaan talks about an "individual domestic mode of
production." Yet if modes of production are individual, there are
potentially as many modes of production as there are individuals -- a
result that I am not satisfied with.

Of course, I am perfectly willing to recognize that within a given mode of
production which in a particular social formation is dominant, there may
nonetheless be remnants of prior modes of production (e.g. feudalism, the
"Asiatic mode of production", etc.) and that these remnants can influence
and help to define a particular social formation. I would say also that
while patriarchy and the nuclear family have existed in a number of
different modes of production, they are not of and by themselves modes of
production. Rather, patriarchal relations are subsumed and incorporated
within different modes of production (but, hopefully, not all). As for
"communist elements" (Paul C's term), I don't think that reforms won by
the working class under capitalism and reluctantly granted by the
capitalist state signify the existence of communist relations in embreyo.

What do you (and others) think?

In solidarity, Jerry