Re: primitive accumulation

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@BUFFALO.EDU)
Date: Sat Jul 12 2003 - 10:07:36 EDT

On Sat, 12 Jul 2003, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

"You [Perelman] seem to reduce primitive accumulation to external plunder
only. However, Marx's theorization is much broader, and includes the use
of direct force in the compulsion of labor and the use of public debt for
the accumulation of capital within early capitalism. The theory of
primitive accumulation does not reduce in spatial terms to external
relations or in temporal terms to capital's origins only...."


Regarding the last sentence, if primitive accumulation is not to be
delimited to the rise of capitalism, it would not square with Marx (of
course, this is your right to oppose Marx's usage of the concept):

     " 'Primitive accumulation' appears as primitive, because it forms the
pre-historic stage of capital and of the mode of production corresponding
with it" (1867, p. 668).

     "primitive accumulation... is the historic basis, instead of the
historic result of specifically capitalist production.  How it itself
originates, we need not here inquire as yet.  It is enough that it forms
the starting-point." (1867, p. 585)

     "It is this same severance of the conditions of production, on the
one hand, from the producers, on the other, that forms the conception of
capital.  It begins with primitive accumulation, appears as a permanent
process in the accumulation and concentration of capital, and expresses
itself finally as centralization of existing capitals..." (1894, p. 246)

     "Accumulation merely presents as a *continuous* process what in
*primitive accumulation* appears as a distinct historical process, as the
process of the emergence of capital and as a transition from one mode of
production to another" (1910, p. 272, italics in original)

     "It is this separation which constitutes the concept of capital and
of *primitive* accumulation, which then appears as a continual process in
the accumulation of capital and here finally takes the form of the
centralization of already existing capitals..." (1910, pp. 311-312,
italics in original)

     "*The primitive accumulation of capital*.... This historical act is
the *historical* genesis of capital, the historical process of separation
.... (1910, pp. 314-315, italics in original)

I'm drawing this quotes from my own article on primitive accumulation in
*The Commoner*, dating refering to first publication of cited Marx work.

Paul Z.

"Confronting 9-11, Ideologies of Race, and Eminent Economists", Vol. 20
RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY,  Paul Zarembka, editor, Elsevier Science

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