Primitive Accumulation and Capitalist Accumulation: Notes on Social Constitution and Expropriation

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Primitive accumulation is not just the historical starting point of capitalism, but, qua coercive proletarianization, central to its essence. It constitutes a specific mode of social labor and it is this mode of labor that forms the concept of capital. Primitive accumulation is therefore not just a historical past from which capitalist social relations emerged, but also, and importantly, constitutive of these relations, once established. Marx's critique of political economy expounds economic categories as social categories founded on the logic of separation. The methodological implications of this reading of the significance of primitive accumulation in capitalism are profound and its political implications formidable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-399
Number of pages21
JournalScience & society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

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