[OPE-L] Turning Modes of Production Inside Out Or, Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery David Graeber

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sun Mar 19 2006 - 01:09:59 EST


I've had a long offlist discussion with David Graeber about this essay, and
while our differences are sharp, I learned a great deal from this essay.
People may know his book on Marx, Mauss and value theory--Towards an
Anthropological Theory of Value. His struggles against Yale University
are also well known.
rb

Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 26, No. 1, 61-85 (2006)
DOI: 10.1177/0308275X06061484
 2006 SAGE Publications
T
Turning Modes of Production Inside Out
Or, Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery
David Graeber
Department of Anthropology, Yale University, David.Graeber@yale.edu
Marxist theory has by now largely abandoned the 
(seriously flawed) notion of the 'mode of 
production', but doing so has only encouraged a 
trend to abandon much of what was radical about 
it and naturalize capitalist categories. This 
article argues a better conceived notion of a 
mode of production - one that recognizes the 
primacy of human production, and hence a more 
sophisticated notion of materialism - might still 
have something to show us: notably, that 
capitalism, or at least industrial capitalism, 
has far more in common with, and is historically 
more closely linked with, chattel slavery than 
most of us had ever imagined.

Key Words: capitalism * feudalism * slavery * 
wage labor * world-systems analysis


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