Re: [Fwd reply to Jurriaan] Re: (OPE-L) VFT Additional Note - Reply to Paul Zarembka

From: Jurriaan Bendien (andromeda246@HETNET.NL)
Date: Sat May 08 2004 - 16:45:21 EDT

Hi Paul Z,
> Seeing your message today on a different topic, I recall that you haven't
responded to a prior reply of mine.  I remain a bit irked by a
personalization of myself by yourself: Do you still feel, perhaps privately:
"To you in your academic position, all this this might be a bit of poetry,
but to many people, including myself, it's been not a joke, but a miserable
> I certainly do not feel as uncompassionate as your wording -- referring to
academic position and joking -- suggests.

I think you're a great guy, a great scholar, and I think Research in
Political Economy is among the good journals in heterodox and Marxian
economics. So in that sense, I have no wish to get offside with you at all.
Let's just say I got a little polemical or tempremental inappropriately, but
that this was not intended as a slight on your character or ability, more a
query along the lines of: is this a serious discussion or not ?
Substantively, I was trying to say:

(1) that processes of dispossession occur all the time in the history of
capitalist development, including (something I did not mention) among
businesspeople themselves (we are not talking centralisation of capital
here, but direct expropriation of some business people by others, by legal
or illegal means). The central idea Marx had, was that capital must first
gain command over a workforce, and when this has occurred, then the
capital-relation can reproduce its own initial conditions on a larger and
larger scale. But this neglects another important idea, implicit at least in
Grossman's theory and explicit in Mandel's theory, namely the imperialist
impulse contained in market expansion. And the point to be made there is,
that at least one of the modalities of market expansion is original
(primitive) accumulation through dispossession, and that this is an ongoing
process, something which Marx just doesn't consider in detail, quite
possibly because the actual way that disposession occurs, is a historically
contingent circumstance involving a battle between social classes.
Nevertheless I think it is important to understand this aggressive impulse
as inherent in the capitalist mode of production, and not just some kind of
"add-on". It's one of the reasons why I tend to be skeptical about
globalisation theories, which do no justice to the real dynamics of
capitalist competition in geographic territory.

(2) the concept of "primitive accumulation" is also used as a kind of
metaphor or joke in some circles, but it really isn't. I have since read
your paper on the topic and realise that you understand this quite well, but
I still do not understand why then you would restrict the concept of
primitive accumulation to the transition from feudalism to capitalism. As I
have said, I am closer to David Harvey on this aspect of Marx's theory.

As regards my personal circumstances, Jerry does not permit discussion of
this on OPE-L list, which is intended for scholarly discussion by Marxian
and heterodox scholars, and I must strictly abide by that (it's one of his
conditions for participation) - we can talk about that offlist if required.



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