ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF SLAVE-HOLDING Ц SERF SOCIETY. PRODUCTIVE PHASE.
1. Socio-productive relations.
At the second, productive phase of slave-holding society, there were no great changes in productive forces. On the contrary, the socio-productive relations differ from those of trade phase in the most radical way. If, at the trade phase, the dominant form of ownership of the main means of production was small individual ownership, then, at the productive phase, the large private ownership became the main form. If, at the trade phase, the production was based on free labour of producers, then, at the productive phase of slave-holding society, the production was grounded on slave labour based on physical coercion. If, at the trade phase, the natural production of small producers prevailed, then, at the productive phase, if only large slave-holding enterprises Ц latifundia and ergasteria - are taken into account, the commodity production predominated. If, at the trade phase, the main classes were class of traders and class of small commodity producers, then, at the productive phase, the main classes were class of slave-holders (agricultural and industrial) and class of slaves (agricultural and industrial).
At the same time, the form of exploitation had changed. It does not mean that the trade exploitation disappeared. On the contrary, it only broadened its scale. But even faster was the growth of exploitation in the sphere of production, so that the production exploitation became soon the main form of exploitation, and the trade and usurious ones only supplemented it being auxiliary, secondary forms of exploitation.
At the productive phase, slaves, that were recruited mainly from war prisoners captured during aggressive wars and civil population of occupied lands, including women and children, began to represent not only the majority of the exploited, they became, apparently, the absolute majority of population of slave-holding state. And the major part of them was used in large slave-holding enterprises, both agricultural and handicraft. At that, agricultural farms were larger in size, than craft workshops. If, in handicraft workshops, dozens (or, rarely Ц hundreds) of slaves were recruited, then, in agricultural latifundia, the number of slaves amounted to hundreds and thousands.
Along with agriculture and handicraft production, the slave labour was applied also in other branches of economy: in construction, extractive industry, metallurgy, commerce, transport, cattle-breeding, in service, especially in housekeeping.
The small commodity producers, who used to be the social basis, support of society, now, not being able to stand competition with large slave-holding enterprises based on cheap slave labour, began to break by masses. Their land plots were bought up by slave-holders that, growing richer and richer, extended their farms. There were more and more slave-holding enterprises, they became larger, and there were less and less small households, at that small commodity producers became more and more poor. Under conditions of competition on the commodity market, they had to sell their commodities at lower and lower price. Since the production costs in slave-holding enterprises were lower, it led to decrease of market prices. According to this decrease, traders reduced purchasing prices at which they bought up commodities of small commodity producers. As a result, purchasing prices gradually lowered to the level of production costs of small commodity producers, and often dropped even below this level.
If, at the trade phase under conditions of simple commodity production, purchasing prices were in the range between values of commodities and their production costs, then, at the production phase, purchasing prices at which traders bought up commodities of small producers, dropping more and more, often reached the level of production costs and even crossed it. This phenomenon led to bankruptcy of small commodity producers. If, at the trade phase of slave-holding society, such bankruptcies of small commodity producers were exceptional cases, then, at the productive phase, owing to competition with cheaper commodities of slave-holding commodity enterprises, they became a rule, a mass phenomenon.
Commodities of slave-holding enterprises were cheaper by two main reasons: first, because of competition, they were often sold on the commodity market at the price lower than price of production, and, second, their production costs were lower than that of commodities of small commodity producers. The latter reason was the main one. And these lower production costs in slave-holding production in comparison with the production of small commodity makers is explained, in its turn, by three reasons. First, slaves worked during longer working day than free peasants and craftsmen did. Second, the labour of slaves was more intensive. And, third, they had worse nourishment and attendance; less means of subsistence were spent for the reproduction of their labour-power. All this was achieved only at the expense of non-economic, physical, crude, cruel compulsion of slaves to their labour.
2. Exploitation of slaves in production sphere. Production profit.
With the transition of slave-holding society from its trade phase, based on small individual economy and free labour of small producers, to its productive phase, grounded on large private enterprises and slave labour, the form of exploitation of the main mass of exploited labourers had changed. If, at the trade phase, the main exploited class was the class of small commodity producers, then, at the production phase, the class of slaves became the main exploited class. According to this, if, at the trade phase, the main form of exploitation was trade one, i.e. exploitation in the field of exchange, commerce, then, at the productive phase, the main form of exploitation was production one, i.e. exploitation in the field of production.
Some of bourgeois researchers Ц political economists think that the exploitation of slaves by slave-holders, as well as the exploitation of hired workers by capitalists takes place not in the field of production but in the sphere of exchange, commerce. They assert that employers (slave-holders in the slave-holding society, and capitalists Ц in the bourgeois) sell commodities with an addition to their value, and this very addition is their profit. But it is enough to look closely at slave-holding production and their mistake would be apparent. LetТs take three slave-holding latifundia, similar by size, i.e. by number of slaves, land area, etc. The first of them carries on purely natural economy. The slave-holder Ц owner of this latifundium Ц sells and buys nothing on the commodity market. He produces all the necessary things in his enterprise by means of labour of his slaves: food-stuff, clothes, footwear, handicraft products, including technical means, etc.
The second of these slave-holding enterprises is of natural-commodity character. The owner of this latifundium also produces a wide spectrum of labour products. But, unlike the first owner, he sells some part of labour products on the commodity market. For money gained from this sale he buys means of production as well as some articles of consumption for his family. As to consumer goods for slaves, all of them are made by slaves in its enterprise.
The third slave-holding enterprise carries on exclusively commodity production. Its owner specializes in production of one or several kinds of commodities that are sold in the market, entirely or mainly. And for money gained he buys a wide spectrum of means of production and consumer goods, not only for his family but for his slaves as well.
ItТs easy to see that the first slave-holder can not derive his profit of enterprise in the sphere of trade at the expense of exploitation of consumers by means of sale of commodities at the price higher than value, since he sells nothing at all. He used the appropriated surplus product directly, without exchange. This surplus product is equal to the difference between aggregate labour product of all his slaves and the part of the latter that is consumed by slaves as necessary product. These very slaves are exploited by him.
The second slave-holder gains the surplus product just the same way as the first one does. First, the aggregate product of labour of slaves is divided, distributed into necessary product that is spent for attendance of slaves, for reproduction of their labour-power, and surplus product that is partly transformed into consumer goods for slave-holder and his family in natural form and partly sold on the commodity market. At that, commodities bought by the slave-holder for money gained from the sale of his commodities are consumed by him and his family but not by slaves. Can the exploitation appear from exchange in this case? Certainly, cannot. After all, slaves get only some part of labour product made by them in exchange for their work. The remaining part of it is appropriated by the slave-holder. At that, it doesnТt matter whether he consumes this surplus product of slave labour in natural form, entirely or partially, or sells all this surplus product on the market and for money gained he buys another commodities and consumes them. In any case, his slaves get only a part of the product of his labour in exchange for their work for the reproduction of their labour-power. The remaining part of labour product Ц surplus product Ц is appropriated by slave-holder in the form of his income or profit.
As for the third slave-holding enterprise, in this case the process of commodity circulation obscures the true nature of exploitation. A false impression may arise that the income of slave-holder originates from the exchange. But if something is valid for the first and second enterprises, it should be true for the third one as well. Suffice it to imagine that the third slave-holder, because of various circumstances, for example, difficulties in sales, began to produce material values not for sale but for his own use. After all, it would be absurd to think that, while he produced the labour products for sale, he exploited consumers not his slaves (hired labourers), but as soon as he began to produce labour products for his own use and for use of his slaves in their natural form he began to exploit his slaves.
Thus, the income of slave-holders arises not from commodity exchange but from exploitation of slaves, for the attendance of which only some part of labour product made by them Ц the necessary product Ц is spent, while the remaining part of slave labour products constitutes the surplus product that is expropriated, appropriated and consumed by the slave-holder. At that, some slave-holders consume all the surplus product themselves, the others give some part of surplus product to usurers and traders whose services they make use of.
The exploitation of slaves by slave-holders is based on non-equivalent exchange. The slaves, by means of their labour, make a bigger amount of aggregate labour product than they get back. The value of labour product made by them is always bigger than the value of labour product spent for their attendance, for reproduction of their labour-power. The value of slaves' labour-power is lower than the value of commodities produced by their labour. But the value of slaves' labour-power consists of two parts: value of production of labour-power (or its market price, if the slave is bought in the market and was not born and has not grown up in the household of slave-holder) and value of reproduction of labour-power, just as the value of commodities that also consists of two parts: the value transferred to the labour product by indirect, dead labour from the means of production used and the value newly created by direct labour of slaves.
The labour-power or, according to Marx, ability of man (slave as well) to work becomes ready to use only when this man reaches some age, so-called productive age. Before a slave, as any other man, reaches this age, his labour-power is not used, but to be able to use it in the future, his owner has to feed, dress him and so on. By the time when a grown-up son (or daughter) of slave can work, his owner has to spend some amount of material benefits that has some value. This very value spent for the attendance of growing slave is the value of production of labour-power. The production of labour-power as a labour product or as a commodity is completed only when this labour-power is ready for use.
However, labour-power is not only to be produced but also to be reproduced constantly, day by day after it begins to be used. A slave must be fed, dressed, etc. for his labour-power to be reproduced constantly and for him to be able to produce material values for slave-holder again and again. In this sense, slave can be compared with drought animal or with machine. During the production of machine or bull, some means are spent, the amount of which determines their values. These are values of production of these commodities or labour products. But since they begin to be used, both machine and bull need additional expenses: machine is to be repaired, bull is to be fed. The value of repair of the machine is the value of its reproduction that cannot be included in the value of its production. The sum of value of production of machine and the value of its reproduction constitutes its full or aggregate value that is gradually transferred by equal portions to the labour product made with the use of this machine.
The distinction between the value of machine (consisting of the value of its production and the value of its reproduction) and the value of slave's labour-power the same way consisting of the value of production and the value of reproduction is only in the fact that the value of machine transfers gradually to the value of labour product while the value of labour-power is not included into the value of labour product. The value created by slave is determined by the amount of labour spent by him not by the value of his labour-power. The value of labour-power does not influence the value of labour product; the former is lower than the latter. The value of labour-power only affects the amount of profit, the value of surplus product. The higher is the value of labour-power, the lower is the value of surplus product (profit of the slave-holder). At that, the value of commodity does not change.
The value of production of labour-power and the value of its reproduction are different things. However, they are joined into the value of labour-power. This conjunction occurs the same way as the conjunction of fixed and circulating capital does in the course of transfer of their values into the value of labour products. Suppose that our slave-holder has spent 300 MU for the production of labour-power of a slave (or bought him in the market at that price). Then, during 30 years when this slave worked for him, he has spent additional 1200 MU for reproduction of his labour-power, i.e. 40 MU a year. So, the full value of labour-power for 30 years is equal to 1500 MU, 50 MU annually.
Thus, the newly created value of labour product being determined by the amount of labour spent for its production, is divided into two main parts during its distribution: the necessary product determined by the value of labour-power of slave, and the surplus product equal to the difference between the value of commodity and the value of necessary product (value of labour-power), that is appropriated in the course of exploitation of slaves by slave-holders in the sphere of production in the form of production profit. At that, the slave-holder Ц manager has to give some part of surplus product to the trader whom he sells his commodity at the price of its production. If slave-holders Ц managers do not agree to give some part of surplus product to traders, then the latter would gain less profit from the same capital. It would cause the transfer of capitals of many traders from the sphere of trade to the sphere of production. Such transfer of capitals would cause the abundance of capital in the sphere of production and the lack of it in the sphere of trade. As a result, the prices at which slave-holders sell their commodities to traders would drop leading, at the end, to the levelling the profit rates in the fields of production and circulation, at that the commodities on the market would be sold not at their values but at their production prices.
3. Rate of trade profit. The law of lowering of the rate of production profit.
If the profit of slave-holder carrying on a large enterprise is divided by his capital or the value of funds invested, advanced to his economy: land, buildings, technics, slaves, raw materials, etc. one gets the rate of his profit. And if we divide the surplus product made at his enterprise by the necessary product (value of labour-power) then we would have the rate or level of exploitation of slaves by the slave-holder. However, it should be noted that a smaller amount of labour products was spent for the attendance of slaves, than it is necessary for normal reproduction of labour-power, i.e. the slaves, in exchange for their labour, gained not all necessary product but only part of it (certainly, the word УexchangeФ is used here not in the sense of market exchange, but in the sense of compulsory exchange).
Striving for the rise of profit rate, slave-holders achieved this aim in various ways, but mainly Ц by means of strengthening the exploitation, increasing the rate of exploitation that was attained, as we have already stressed, owing to excessive duration of working day and intensity of labour, miserable living standards of slaves. However, both duration of working day and labour intensity cannot be increased infinitely; they have limits that cannot be crossed. The same concerns the attendance of slaves. And the new technics and technology were difficult to use in slave-holding economy since the slaves owing to their very status were not too careful to the means of production of slave-holders.
Although, with the increase of scale of production, the amount of aggregate profit of slave-holders rose, it rose not so quickly as their capitals did but much slower. In other words, the larger slave-holding production became, the lower became the rate of profit. It is usually explained by the increase of market prices for slaves. But this phenomenon can only explain the lowering of efficiency of large slave-holding production in comparison with small production of free peasants and craftsmen but not in comparison with small slave-holding production. After all, the rise of prices for slaves affected both small slave-holding enterprises and large ones. Besides, by the end of productive phase of slave-holding society, the number of slaves in production was replenished mainly not at the expense of buying them on the commodity market but owing to natural increase of slaves that, by that time, began to provide themselves with families and had children. By the end of existence of large slave-holding production in Roman Empire, only one third of slaves were bought, and the remaining two thirds were grown up in households at the expense of natural increase.
If the slave-holding production was, irrespective of its size, less profitable than enterprises based not on slave but on free labour, then all that the slave-holders were to do was to turn their slaves to hired labourers Ц and the problem would be resolved. But in this case large agricultural latifundia would become still less profitable to their owners. Large slave-holding production became unprofitable not because it was slave-holding but because it was large. The larger enterprises of slave-holders were, the lower was the rate of profit. For the time being, it was not striking since the production was only in part commodity but mainly natural, but as the commodity production widened itself, it became more and more visible. Furthermore, in the first period of productive phase, slave-holding enterprises were not so large and, consequently, more profitable than later when their sizes multiply increased. Besides, slave-holders not understanding the reasons of decrease of profitability of enterprises, were inclined to explain it by whatever reasons (but the real one): bad weather, climate, high prices for slaves, idleness of the latter, bad management, poor labour organization, wars or, vice versa, their absence, difficulties in sale of commodities, decrease of prices for commodities that they produced and sold, low fertility of land, etc., etc.
But if the decrease of profitability of large enterprises, i.e. decrease of their rate of profit, depends exclusively upon their size, then, quite naturally, a question may arise, why such a large enterprises appeared at all.
It could be explained by the following: formerly enterprises were smaller and, consequently, more efficient than afterwards. Besides, they were of natural character to a great extent and, as a result, it was difficult to determine the efficiency of one or another enterprise. And, finally, though the rate of profit decreased with the enlargement of enterprises but the aggregate profit rose.
But the main reason was in the fact that, in the first period of production phase, the small slave-holding production was less profitable than medium and, maybe, even large slave-holding enterprises. That is, in the first half of productive phase, the large and medium slave-holding production was more effective than small one, but in the second half, on the contrary, small slave-holding production became more effective than medium and, especially, large.
Maybe, it should be said in such a way: in the beginning of productive phase, small slave-holding production was more unprofitable than large slave-holding production. Afterwards, the effectiveness of small and large slave-holding enterprises became level. And, finally, the effectiveness of small slave-holding enterprises got higher than that of large ones; they became more and more profitable.
Thus, the two opposite processes took place: on the one hand, the efficiency of small slave-holding enterprises (it should be better to call them not slave-holding enterprises but simply enterprises of slaves, slave enterprises) rose as time went by, on the other hand, the efficiency of large slave-holding latifundia dropped in the course of their enlargement. Effectiveness of small and large slave-holding enterprises grew closer, then became even and, finally, began to differ again but to another direction. This difference grew more and more and finally reached the level when it became obvious for everyone, and then a grandiose process took place: transformation of large enterprises Ц latifundia Ц to small ones that, remaining in the ownership of slave-holders, were carried on by slaves themselves; they were handed over (leased) by slave-holders to the use of slaves and, partly, free producers Ц colons, who were then enslaved by slave-holders, turned to slaves.
However, two questions arise: why was the small slave enterprises ineffective at the beginning of productive phase but became more effective in the second half of this phase? And why was the large slave-holding enterprises less effective, had less profit rate getting larger in size?
To answer the first question, one must remember that, in the course of the slave-holding social revolution, the laws prohibiting the enslavement of native citizens were passed. As a result, foreigners began to be enslaved. When the large slave-holding enterprises appeared, the slave-holding state began to deliver a huge amount of foreigners from conquered lands that were enslaved and forced to work in the households of slave-holders. Thus, the slaves in large enterprises in the first period of their existence were recent free citizens of neighbouring countries. And to make them work for slave-holders, the strictest control, supervision, severe punishment for bad work, etc. were necessary, but the main point Ц they were to be guarded, otherwise they escaped at the first opportunity. So, the apparatus of compulsion, warriors, supervisors, managers, etc. were necessary. And the more scattered were the slaves, the farther from each other they were in labour and rest time, the larger apparatus of compulsion was needed, the bigger number of warriors and supervisors were to be hired by slave-holder. If the slave-holder divided his land into a number of single plots and assigned a slave to each of them, then he would have to hire a great number of supervisors, otherwise all the slaves would disperse at once and, maybe, incite a revolt against the slave-holder. But it was unprofitable to hire a big number of guardians, because they would take if not all then the major part of surplus product. The profit (and, consequently, the rate of profit) of slave-holder would be small in such a case.
Thus, small households that were carried on by slaves but belonged to the slave-holder were unprofitable, inefficient. The large enterprises where slaves worked together, now at one plot, now at another, by large groups of several dozens in number, were by far more profitable. In such a case, the number of managers was comparatively small, and the large slave-holding enterprise was more effective, brought bigger profit and rate of profit than small households.
But by the end of productive phase, the situation had changed in the most radical way. Now, the majority of slaves were local dwellers, born and grown in this land, in this place. They spoke the local language and, the main point, they had families, children. They did not know another land but the one they lived in, did not know another language but the one they spoke. They had nowhere to run and it was impossible because they were burdened by their families. And now, small households, that were carried on by slaves under slackened control of managers and supervisors, became more profitable than previously since the apparatus of compulsion became smaller in size.
But larger households of slave-holders grew less effective in the course of their enlargement by reason of violation of economic law of correspondence of production centralization to the level of operational division of labour.
4. Economic laws and economic contradictions.
In the course of development of slave-holding society at its productive phase, the slave-holding latifundia became larger and larger in size. In other words, concentration of production took place. But the centralization of production was not accompanied (at least, in agricultural latifundia) by the increase of operational division of labour. The growth of centralization was the consequence of concentration of wealth and, accordingly, means of production in the hands of slave-holders at the expense of exploitation of slaves not the development of operational division of labour that was at very low level in latifundia. As a result, there appeared a contradiction between the low level of operational division of labour and excessively high degree of centralization of agricultural slave-holding production getting more and more acute in the course of further centralization of production. This contradiction between the excessive centralization of production and low level of operational division of labour caused the lowering of the rate of profit in the sphere of production as the latifundia became larger in size. The larger was a slave-holding enterprise, the more centralized it was, the sharper was above contradiction and, owing to this, less effective this enterprise was.
At the given stage of development of society, this contradiction could be only resolved by mass decentralization of agricultural production that took place in Ancient Rome in II-III centuries AD.
One more contradiction appeared in slave-holding society Ц contradiction between excessively large commodity market and comparatively low level of social division of labour. We have already stressed that the creation of enormous slave-holding states (the empire of Alexander the Macedonian, the state of Ancient Rome) as a result of trade-economic and military-political expansion was not economically expedient. Keeping huge military forces in the distant conquered lands was very expensive to the state. These expenses were bigger than incomes from these territories at the expense of trade and tax collection. This was the consequence of violation of the law of correspondence of commodity market size to the level of social division of labour. At the given stage of development of society, its productive forces, social division of labour, this contradiction could only be resolved by splitting huge states into smaller ones; and this occurred soon after the death of Alexander the Macedonian whose empire disintegrated to several states and in III century AD in Roman Empire that was divided to two independent states Ц Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire).
In some ancient Greek states, for example, in Athens, slave labour was widespread not only in agriculture but also in industry. In some periods, as historical sources testify, the number of slaves in industry was bigger than that in agriculture. At that, industrial slaves worked in small handicraft workshops Ц 20 to 30 slaves in each.
Some researchers assert that there was no operational division of labour in these workshops, that the labour of slaves was based on simple co-operation, but it is open to question. The others, on the contrary, claim that, in these workshops, there was operational division of labour grounded on hand technics. For example, F.Engels, though not saying directly about operational division of labour in Greek workshops, called, and not once, them manufactories in his book "The origin of family, private ownership and state". But Marx and Engels always called manufactories such industrial workshops, enterprises that were based not on simple co-operation but on operational division of labour. We think that those who, like Engels, assert that the labour in ancient Greek slave-holding workshops was grounded not on simple co-operation but on operational division of labour, are right. And, consequently, there was no contradiction between centralization of production and operational division of labour. Because, in industry, unlike agriculture, possibilities to increase labour productivity at the expense of operational division of labour always exist. And if all the conditions (availability of large industrial workshops) for this were created, it is hard to understand, why these possibilities could not be implemented. We think that it is because of availability of operational division of labour in industrial production that the large workshops became widespread. And since the level of operational division of labour based on primitive hand technics was low, the grade of centralization of industrial production was insignificant, and the industrial workshops were small in size. And if there was no operational division of labour in industrial workshops, then wide spread occurrence of the latter could be explained by the same reason as that of agricultural latifundia.
However, in slave-holding industrial production, whether it was based on operational division of labour or not, another, more important contradiction existed Ц between socio-productive relations and the nature of labour of the main mass of producers.
The labour of industrial workers, including craftsmen, by its nature, content, level of creativity takes a middle position between the labour of hunter and labour of peasant. If the labour of hunter, for its effectiveness, is in need of humane socio-productive relations based on communal ownership of the main means of production and free labour grounded on harmonious unity of moral and material stimuli; and if the labour of peasant is effective not only being based on communal ownership of the main means of production but even being grounded on private ownership, not only under productive relations based on economic coercion, but even under those grounded on non-economic coercion or on unity, combination of non-economic and economic coercion; then the labour of craftsman, like any other industrial worker, can be effective not only on the base of communal ownership of the main means of production and combination of moral and material stimuli but also on the base of private ownership and economic coercion, i.e. hired labour; but, unlike the labour of peasant, the labour of industrial worker cannot be effective being based on non-economic, crude, physical coercion.
Therefore, the best form for the industrial labour of craftsmen at given stage of development of society was hired labour based on economic coercion. Industrial labour was less effective in the form of slavery.
So why was slavery widespread in industrial production of Ancient Greece?
Obviously, because the form of productive relations is determined by the nature of labour of the main mass of producers, the latter being peasants in slave-holding society. As to secondary branches of social production, the form of productive relations in them is determined not by the nature of labour of their workers but by the dominant form of socio-productive relations in the country, the latter being slave-holding relations.
However, the nature of labour of craftsmen had to leave its imprint onto productive relations in industrial production of slave-holding society. So, one could suppose that of two forms of coercion Ц non-economic and economic Ц peculiar to slave-holding Ц serfdom society, that combined in various proportions, sometimes the very economic coercion dominated being supplemented by non-economic one. In other words, industrial production in slave-holding society was based on a softened form of slave-holding socio-productive relations.
One may object that, in Athenian city-state, the industry not agriculture was the main branch. However, socio-productive relations in single small states were determined not by the nature of labour of the main mass of producers of given small state, but by the dominating socio-productive relations of majority of the states interconnected by close trade-economic and political relations, ties; in our example Ц all Ancient Greece with its colonies. And since in the major part of ancient Greek states the main branch of social production was agriculture, then the dominating form of productive relations in all states, including industrial ones, were slave-holding relations.
Nevertheless, contradiction between the slave-holding productive relations and the nature of labour of craftsmen existed and could only be resolved by means of elimination of slavery.
In the course of development of slave-holding society there appeared also a contradiction between the growth of needs and the labour productivity being behind the former. Slaves had very little interest in the results of their labour (often Ц no interest at all) that led to the fact that labour productivity only depended upon weather conditions and land fertility not upon technical achievements, etc. As a result, labour productivity in large latifundia did not rise for long time and frequently, on the contrary, dropped by reason of either decrease of land fertility, or careless maintenance for it by slaves, or, as some researchers think, deliberate spoiling of means of production by slaves. All this led to the fact that, in slave-holding society, satisfaction of ever growing human needs could not be realized on a full scale. There appeared a contradiction between the growth of needs and very slow increase of labour productivity, getting more and more acute as the profitability of large latifundia decreased. This contradiction was partly resolved by mass decentralization of large agricultural production that took place in the slave-holding world in II-III centuries AD.
Economic contradictions reached high level of acuteness at the productive phase of slave-holding society. All the history of large slave-holding production is the history of class struggle of slaves (and conquered nations) against slave-holders, against slave-holding state, against slavery. The class struggle, at the productive phase, strengthened multiply comparing to the trade phase. Hard, rough labour of slaves, bad treatment of them, enslavement of former free citizens (often Ц hunters and fishers not accustomed to hard labour in agriculture, mines, construction, etc.) caused social explosions, revolts.
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