[OPE-L:5862] Re: [PAUL C] Re: Hello and Kliman's cat

Fri, 19 Dec 1997 12:59:07 +0000 (GMT)

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Paul C. writes:

> The mode of production that is economically dominant is not
> necessarily the same as the mode of production that is politically
> dominant. The politically dominant mode of production tends to
> be the one which appropriates the greatest surplus product,
> rather than uses the most labour.

This is an interesting distinction which deserves to be interrogated.

The various objections to the domestic mode of production do not seem
to me to be sustainable. There is production in the domestic sphere
and where there is production there are necessarily relations of
production (outside of Robinson Crusoe). Thus in the home there must
be a combination of the means of production and the social relations
of production, which meets the conditions of all the definitions of a
mode of production so far proposed. I share Emily and Bob Le'on's
implied skepticism about the multiplication of modes of production
and so would propose that the mode is either communist (no surplus or
the surplus appropriated for the benefit of the direct producers) or
feudal (surplus appropriated through political or ideological

This MOP cannot be seen as a remnant of a previously dominant MOP
unless a previous period of dominance can be identified and its
institutional genealogy traced from this time. In addition, domestic
production was probably economically dominant in Paul's sense until
very recently. Further, while political or ideological formations
may be remnant (as in the example of the European monarchies), it
doesn't seem appropriate to apply this designation to a site of
production and production relations which is actively reproducing
itself at the present time.

As to political dominance, capitalism became politically dominant
long before it was conditioning the appropriation of the bulk of the
surplus labour. Perhaps a mode of production can rather be said to
be dominant when its inter and intra class conflicts lead to the
historical dynamic of the social formation as a whole.

Terry McDonough