Re: [OPE-L] queries: 'primitive' or 'original'; "so-called" or not; expropriation and accumulation

From: Michael Perelman (michael@ECST.CSUCHICO.EDU)
Date: Thu Sep 07 2006 - 12:28:07 EDT

Smith's Original becomes Ursprunlich becomes primitive.  I think that it improves
with each mistranslation.

On Thu, Sep 07, 2006 at 10:52:04AM -0400, glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:
> Hi Paul Z:
> A few queries:
> 1) the English translation Part Eight of Volume One of _Capital_ has the
> title: "So-Called Primitive Accumulation".  Yet, the title and references
> to the topic in Ch. 26 doesn't contain "so-called" (sogenannte).   Should
> it be referred to with or without the "so-called"?    Statements like "In
> the history  of primitive accumulation, are revolutions are epoch-making
> that act as levers for the capitalist class in the course of its formation
> ...." (p. 876 Penguin ed.) suggest that it was a historical reality rather
> than merely a "so-called" phenomenon.
> 2) In the same para. cited above where Marx refers to the history of
> primitive accumulation,  he also refers to "the expropriation of the
> agricultural producer, the peasant, from the soil"  and "The history of
> this expropriation assumes different aspects in different countries, and
> runs through its various phases in different orders of succession, and
> at different historical epochs.  Only in England, which we therefore
> take as our example, has it the classic form." Wouldn't this suggest
> that, at least in this para., he was referring to primitive accumulation
> and this form of expropriation [the expropriation of the agricultural
> producer] as interchangeable expressions?
>                            ..
> 3) Should   "ursprunglichen"  be translated as "primitive" or "original"?
> To what extent does the translation have any import in terms of the debate
> of the contemporary relevance or irrelevance of this process?
> In solidarity, Jerry
> > I don't know about a documentary, but do remark that "primitive acc." is
> > used by Marx only for the transition from feudalism to capitalism in the
> > original constitution of the C.M. of P.
> > For the 19-21 centuries, I prefer usage saying simply "expropriation
> > ...".   For those interested, I documented my point in The Commoner a
> > few years back.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Sat Sep 30 2006 - 00:00:06 EDT