The Continuous Character Of Primitive Accumulation Sociology

essay A+
  • Words: 6542
  • Category:

  • Pages: 24

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Harmonizing to traditional readings, Marx ‘s construct of crude accretion indicates the historical procedure that gave birth to the stipulations of a capitalist manner of production. Alternatively, the same thought has been interpreted as a uninterrupted phenomenon within the capitalist manner of production.

Harmonizing to one chief traditional reading, Marx ‘s construct of crude accretion indicates the historical procedure that gave birth to the stipulations of a capitalist manner of production. These stipulations refer chiefly to the creative activity of a subdivision of the population with no other agencies of support but their labour power to be sold in a nascent labor market and to the accretion of capital that may be used for nascent industries.

In this construct, the adjectival “ crude ” corresponds to a distinct temporal dimension ( the yesteryear ) , which becomes the status for a capitalist hereafter. Alternatively, the same construct of crude accretion has been interpreted as a uninterrupted phenomenon within the capitalist manner of production, particularly in connexion to Marxist analyses depicting the subordination of the South to the North of the universe economic system. In this paper I argue that Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion may be seen to incorporate both an historical and a continuity statement, but in signifiers that depart from traditional readings. In the 2nd subdivision I briefly reexamine the two classical attacks to crude accretion within the Marxist tradition. In subdivision three I discuss Marx ‘s definition of crude accretion and turn up it within his broader analysis of the capitalist manner of production.

This will take to my highlighting of two major theoretical deductions of Marx ‘s thought of crude accretion, that is the nature of its societal character and the assortment of signifiers that in rule it can take. In subdivision four I briefly expand on the latter and study some of the signifiers of crude accretion discussed by Marx. Finally, in subdivision five, I return to the societal significance of crude accretion as identified in subdivision three. By pulling from Marx ‘ theoretical setup – – chiefly his analysis of the relation between capable and object, his theory of disaffection, and his differentiation between accretion and crude accretion – – I suggest that crude accretion is besides present in “ mature ” capitalist systems and, one time the centrality of societal dealingss of production and category battle is recognised, assumes a “ uninterrupted ” character. This consequence provides a new interpretive theoretical model that may be used to turn up current neoliberal policies in the context of Marx ‘s theory of capitalist economy, an endeavor nevertheless that can non be the object of this paper.

To concentrate on Marx ‘s theoretical treatment, I will abstract here from the arguments around the function and significance of “ socialist crude accretions ” . Besides, for the same ground I will non prosecute in the dissection of the significance of the different niceties taken by the class studied when in the literature is referred to as either “ original ” , “ crude ” or “ primary ” accretion. My usage of “ crude accretion ” in this paper is merely a pick of convenience, as I believe this has been the most common usage of the class ( followed by “ original ” and so “ primary ” ) . Challenging this established usage should be the object of another paper.

3. Marx ‘s construct of crude accretion

3.1. The definition of crude accretion.

In the eight chapters of Part Eight of Volume One of Capital, Marx discusses “ the alleged Primitive Accumulation ” . For any given time-period, the procedure of accretion presupposes of class that some pre-accumulated capital was thrown into the procedure of production. It seems therefore that capitalist production as a whole presupposes some “ original ” or “ crude ” accretion. Although he ne’er uses the term, Adam Smith was the first to mention to this impression by claiming that “ the accretion of stock ” is a stipulation for the division of labor ( Smith 1776: 277 ) and, accordingly, for the betterment of the productive power of labor. Marx ‘s attack to primitive accretion appears from the start linked to the different theoretical significance he gives to the class of capital. The impression of crude accretion is based on the impression of capital as category relation, instead than capital as “ stock ” :

The capital-relation presupposes a complete separation between the workers and the ownership of the conditions for the realization of their labor ( Marx 1867: 874. My accent ) .

Given the significance of capital as category relation, it follows therefore that

the procedure. . . which creates the capital-relation can be nil other than the procedure which divorces the worker from the ownership of the conditions of his ain labor ; it is a procedure which operates two transmutations, whereby the societal agencies of subsistence and production are turned into capital, and the immediate manufacturers are turned into wage-labourers ( Marx 1867: 874. My accent ) .

Therefore, the alleged crude accretion. . . is nil else than the historical procedure of disassociating the manufacturer from the agencies of production ( Marx 1867: 874-5 ) .

We can besides happen indicant of Marx ‘s accent on category dealingss in the construction of this subdivision of Capital. Marx dedicates two chapters of this subdivision on the formation of the working category ( Chapters 27 and 28 ) and three chapters on the formation of the middle class ( Chapters 29, 30 and 31 ) .

A careful scrutiny of Marx ‘s definition of crude accretion allows us to critically measure the historical and uninterrupted statements and redeveloping them consequently. The important thought that allows us to make so, is the construct of separation between manufacturers and agencies of production emphasised by Marx ‘s definition ( in what follow I will largely mention to this merely as separation ) .

There are three cardinal points that I believe are cardinal in understanding Marx ‘s attack to crude accretion. The first is that the separation of manufacturers and agencies of production is a common character of both accretion and crude accretion. The 2nd is that this separation is a cardinal class ( if non the cardinal class ) of Marx ‘s review of political economic system. The 3rd is that the difference between accretion and crude accretion, non being a substantial one, is a difference in the conditions and signifiers in which this separation is implemented. In what follows I analyse these three facets in sequence.

A A 3.3. The significance and centrality of “ separation ” in Marx ‘s theory.

It is known that Marx ‘s ain method of probe starts from “ the Torahs of bourgeois economic system. . . [ as ] a key to the apprehension of the past ” instead than from the “ existent history of the dealingss of production ” ( Marx 1858: 460-1 ) . Therefore, understanding what Marx meant by separation in the context of capital ‘s accretion enables us to appreciate the significance he gives to the “ original ” or crude separation.

In the context of accretion, separation of manufacturers and agencies of production agencies basically that the “ nonsubjective conditions of populating labour appear as detached, independent values opposite populating labor capacity as subjective being, which hence appears to them merely as a value of another sort ” ( Marx 1858: 461 ) . The separation of manufacturers and agencies of production at the societal degree means the positing of populating labor and conditions of production as independent values standing in resistance with each other:

The nonsubjective conditions of populating labour capacity are presupposed as holding an being independent of it, as the objectiveness of a capable distinct from populating labour capacity and standing independently over against it ; the reproduction and realisation, i.e. the enlargement of these nonsubjective conditions, is hence at the same clip their ain reproduction and new production as the wealth of an foreigner topic indifferently and independently standing over against labour capacity. What is reproduced and produced anew is non merely the presence of these nonsubjective conditions of populating labor, but besides their presence as independent values, i.e. values belonging to an foreigner topic, facing this life labor capacity ( Marx 1858: 462 ) .

This separation therefore is a cardinal status for Marx ‘s theory of hypostatization, of the transmutation of capable into object. In other words, because of this separation “ the nonsubjective conditions of labor attain a subjective being vis-a-vis life labor capacity ” ( Marx 1858: 462 ) . This meant that the agencies of production are subjected to the thrust towards self-valorisation and self-expansion, and this, from the position of capital, is all that count. On the other manus populating labor, the “ subjective being ” par excellence, is turned into a thing among things, “ it is simply a value of a peculiar usage value alongside the conditions of its ain realization as values of another usage value ” ( Marx 1858: 462 ) . The specificity of this reified capable – – life labour – – is that

The stuff on which it works is foreign stuff ; the instrument is similarly an foreign instrument ; its labor appears as a mere accoutrement to their substance and hence objectifies itself in things non belonging to it. Indeed, populating labour itself appears as foreign vis-a-vis life labor capacity, whose labor it is, whose ain life ‘s look it is, for it has been surrendered to capital in exchange for objectified labor, for the merchandise of labour itself ( Marx 1858: 462 ) .

The thought of separation hence purely echoes Marx ‘s analysis of anomic labor, as labor alienated from the object of production, the agencies of production, the merchandise, and the other manufacturers ( Marx 1844 ) . The resistance that we have seen is inexplicit in this definition, is of class a clashing resistance showing a “ specific relationship of production, a specific societal relationship in which the proprietors of the conditions of production dainty populating labour-power as a thing ” ( Marx 1863-66: 989 ) . These same proprietors are regarded merely as “ capital personified ” , in which capital is understood as holding “ one sole driving force, the thrust to valorize itself, to make surplus-value, to do its changeless portion, the agencies of production, absorb the greatest possible sum of excess labor ” ( Marx 1867: 342 ) . The construct of separation enables us to clear up Marx ‘s mention to capital accretion as accretion of societal dealingss: “ The capitalist procedure of production. . . seen as a sum, connected procedure, i.e. a procedure of reproduction, produces non merely trade goods, non merely surplus-value, but it besides produces and reproduces the capital-relation itself ; on the one manus the capitalist, on the other the wage-labourer. ” ( Marx 1867: 724 )


3.4. The differentiation between accretion and crude accretion.

Having defined the common character of both accretion and crude accretion, Marx is of class besides eager to indicate out their peculiarity. As opposed to accumulation proper, what “ may be called crude accretion. . . is the historical footing, alternatively of the historical consequence, of specifically capitalist production ” ( Marx 1867: 775 ) . While sharing the same rule – – separation – – the two constructs point at two different conditions of being. The latter implies the ex novo production of the separation, while the latter implies the reproduction – – on a greater graduated table – – of the same separation:

It is in fact this divorce between the conditions of labor on the one manus and the manufacturers on the other that forms the construct of capital, as this arises with crude accretion. . . later looking as a changeless procedure in the accretion and concentration of capital, before it is eventually expressed here as the centralisation of capitals already bing in few custodies, and the decapitalization of many ( Marx 1894: 354-5 ) .

The cardinal difference therefore resides for Marx non so much in the timing of the happening of this separation – – although a consecutive component is of course ever present – – instead in the conditions and fortunes in which this separation is enforced. In the Grundrisse for illustration, Marx stresses the differentiation between the conditions of capital ‘s arising ( going ) , and the conditions of capital ‘s being ( being ) . The former, “ disappear as existent capital arises ” , while the latter do non look as “ conditions of its arising, but as consequences of its presence ” ( Marx 1858: 460-1 ) . Marx is underscoring here a simple but important point: “ Once developed historically, capital itself creates the conditions of its being ( non as conditions for its arising, but as consequences of its being ) ” ( Marx 1858: 459 ) , and therefore it drives to reproduce ( at increasing graduated table ) the separation between agencies of production and manufacturers. However, the ex novo production of the separation implies societal forces that are posited outside the kingdom of impersonal “ pure ” economic Torahs. The ex novo separation of agencies of production and manufacturers corresponds to the ex novo creative activity of the resistance between the two, to the ex novo foundation of the specific foreign character acquired by labor in capitalist economy.

This is the component of freshness, of “ originality ” that Marx seems to bespeak when he stresses that while accretion relies chiefly on “ the soundless irresistible impulse of economic dealingss [ which ] sets the seal on the domination of the capitalist over the worker, ” in the instance of crude accretion the separation is imposed chiefly through “ [ vitamin D ] irect extra-economic force ” ( Marx 1867: 899-900 ) , such as the province ( Marx 1867: 900 ) , peculiar subdivisions of societal categories ( Marx 1867: 879 ) , etc. We can state hence that crude accretion for Marx is a societal procedure instigated by some societal histrion ( the province, peculiar societal categories, etc. ) aimed at the people who have some signifier of direct entree to the agencies of production. This societal procedure frequently takes the signifier of a scheme that aims to divide them from the agencies of production.

The above treatment allows us to explain two wide theoretical basiss towards a reformulation of Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion. First, separation does non merely bespeak the rupture between manners of production in an epoch-making period of “ passage ” . This implies that crude accretion can non be confined to a distant yesteryear. In Marx ‘s reading I am suggesting there is nil bespeaking that this separation may non happen any clip, even within a “ mature ” capitalist manner of production, when the conditions for an ex novo separation are posited. I will discourse this issue in more inside informations in subdivision 5, while measuring the elements of continuity of Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion within the capitalist manner of production. Second, take a firm standing on the function of separation in the definition of crude accretion and stressing that the differentiation between accretion and crude accretion is based on the conditions of execution of this separation opens the manner for look intoing what are the different possible signifiers of crude accretion. This of class may take to the preparation of a taxonomy of crude accretion that can non be discussed here. In subdivision 4 I alternatively discourse some of the discrepancies of crude accretion proposed by Marx.



4. Different signifiers of crude accretion in Marx.

It is good known that Marx ‘s treatment of the procedure of land enclosure in England, was a mere illustration of crude accretion, an illustration particular to England. Furthermore, even Marx ‘s treatment of crude accretion in England takes us by default to distant lands, to the extent these countries are linked and subordinated to the procedure of accretion in England. A typical illustration is the slave trade. Between 1690 and 1721 new ports were created ( as in Liverpool ) , while old 1s gained new life as consequence of booming slave trade ( as in Bristol ) . The figure of transported slaves jumped from 27,500 in the 17th century to an estimation of between 40,000 and 100,000 in the Eighteen Century ( Linebaugh 1991: 46 ) . Marx has no trouble in indicating out that “ Liverpool grew fat on the footing of the slave trade ” and that so “ this was its method of crude accretion ” ( Marx 1867: 924 ) . However, this method of crude accretion did non imply a classic-Marxist theoretical account of passage applied to Africa from feudal system to capitalist economy. This theoretical account, that was common Marxist orthodoxy until non long ago, by underscoring the function played by land enclosures in the “ passage ” from feudal to a capitalist manner of production in England, has contributed to turn the construct of crude accretion into a corner-stone of a monumental edifice by and large referred to as “ phase theory ” . Alternatively, the illustration of the slave trade shows that crude accretion may happen through the interaction between North and South, an international division of labor, the devastation of African communities, and captivity. Marx was of class really good cognizant of all these signifiers. Therefore, in this instance, the “ historical procedure of dividing the manufacturers from the agencies of production ” revealed features and dimensions rather different from the stereotyped representation of land enclosure portraying the transition from “ feudal system ” to “ capitalist economy ” in Europe. Here crude accretion is consistent with an apprehension of the capitalist economic system as a universe economic system, in a Braudelian sense ( Braudel 1982 ) , in which accretion in one topographic point may match to crude accretion in another topographic point, in which the ex novo production of the separation can be the status of the reproduction of the same separation in another interlinked topographic point. At this junction, we can to the full appreciate the penetrations provided by the reading we labelled the “ continuous-inherent ” crude accretion.

Marx refers to other signifiers of crude accretion. These are the 1s obtained through the use of money by the State. Marx regards public debt, international recognition system and revenue enhancements, as cardinal agencies to further crude accretion. Public debt

becomes one of the most powerful levers of crude accretion. As with the shot of an enchanter ‘s wand, it endows unproductive money with the power of creative activity and therefore turns it into capital, without coercing it to expose itself to the problems and hazards inseparable from its employment in industry or even in vigorish ( Marx 1867: 919 ) .

Complementary to public debt is the modern financial system,

whose pivot is formed by revenue enhancements on the most necessary agencies of subsistence ( and hence by additions in their monetary values ) , therefore contains within itself the source of automatic patterned advance. Over-taxation is non an inadvertent happening, but instead a rule. In Holland, hence, where this system was foremost inaugurated, the great nationalist, De Witt, extolled it in his Maxims as the best system for doing the wage-labourer submissive, frugal, hardworking. . . and overburdened with work ( Marx 1867: 921 ) .

All the same, the international recognition system that grows along national debt frequently conceals one of the beginnings of crude accretion in this or that people. . . . A great trade of capital, which appears today in the United States without any birth-certificate, was yesterday, in England, the capitalised blood of kids ( Marx 1867: 920 ) .

All these illustrations point at the fact that crude accretion for Marx does non presume merely the signifier of direct land enclosure as in the procedure of English crude accretion, but it besides occurs through other agencies. A brief study of the current literature on the nexus between 3rd World debt and widespread poorness reveals that the characteristics of XVIII-XIX Centuries capitalist economy may good hold a dramatic resemblance to those of Twenty-one Century capitalist economy, one time of class the different historical contexts are taken into consideration.

5. The Continuous character of Crude Accumulation.

5.1. Introduction.

In a recent of import survey Michael Perelman ( 1997, ch. 2 ) supports the thought of the uninterrupted character of crude accretion in Marx along three chief lines of reading and supply some textural grounds. Besides, Perelman points out that Marx wanted to de-emphasize the construct of crude accretion for a political and strategic, instead than theoretical, ground. Excessive accent on crude accretion would hold distracted the reader from the “ soundless irresistible impulse of the market ” . Thus Marx did non underscore the continuity of crude accretion because he

would non hold wished his readers to believe that steps to extinguish `unjust ‘ cases of crude accretion might do to convey about a good society. To hold stressed the go oning influence of crude accretion risked throwing readers off path. They might reason that the ailments of society resulted from unfair actions that were unrelated to the kernel of the market ( Perelman 1997, ch2: 5 ) .

The statement is therefore that Marx wanted to emphasize the function of market forces, where market forces have replaced crude accretion as a disciplinary device implementing the separation between labor and agencies of production. Although this reading may explicate Marx ‘s comparatively less drawn-out treatment of the class of crude accretion, it does non turn to the undermentioned inquiry of the extent to which Marx ‘s theoretical model is compatible with the uninterrupted character of the crude accretion.

A 5.2. Continuity and category struggle.

The reading of Marx ‘s analysis of crude accretion presented therefore far has revealed two basic interrelated points: foremost, crude accretion is the ex-novo production of the separation between manufacturers and agencies of production and hence, in certain conditions, it represents a scheme. Second, this societal procedure or scheme can take different signifiers. The historicity conteined in the construct is revealed non so much by the fact that crude accretion occurs before the capitalist manner of production – – although this is besides the instance – – but that it is the footing, the presupposition, the basic stipulation which is necessary if accretion of capital must happen. It must be noted that this last definition is Marx ‘s ain and it is more general than the one adopted by the classical “ historical reading ” , and therefore it includes it.

This is because if crude accretion is defined in footings of the stipulations it satisfies for the accretion of capital, its temporal dimension includes in rule both the period of the constitution of a capitalist manner of production and the saving and enlargement of the capitalist manner of production any clip the manufacturers set themselves as an obstruction to the reproduction of their separation to the agencies of production, separation understood in footings described before.

Another manner to set it would be through Karl Polanyi ‘s construct of “ dual motion ” ( Polanyi 1944 ) . On one side there is the historical motion of the market, a motion that has non inheret bound and that hence threatens society ‘s really existence. On the other there is society ‘s natural leaning to support itself, and hence to make establishments for its protection. In Polanyi ‘s footings, the uninterrupted component of Marx ‘s crude accretion could be identified in those societal procedures or sets of schemes aimed at leveling those establishments that protect society ‘s from the market. The important component of continuity in the reformulation of Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion arises hence once we aknowledge the other motion of society.

We have derived the strategic character of crude accretion from its definition: “ the historical procedure of disassociating the manufacturer from the agencies of production ” , while in the definition of accretion this divorcing occurred at increasing graduated table. In Marx, this latter divorcing is clearly the consequence of the driving force of what we may name a chief historical topic — albeit a depersonalised one — that is, capital, which Marx repeatedly defines in term of its eternal thrust for self-expansion, accretion. This eternal thrust for enlargement is bound to collide against such bounds as those posed by geographical countries unaffected by capitalist production or at its border. Examples of enlargement in geographical countries include for illustration the already cited slave trade mentioned by Marx, and Luxemburg ‘s treatment may at least be seen as foregrounding this penetration within Marx ‘s text. However, Marx frequently refers to capital besides as reactive vis-a-vis those societal forces that pose a bound to accretion. Particularly, capital is seen as responding against the effects of assorted battles engaged by what Marx believed was the historical topic of societal transmutation par excellence – – the on the job category.

The clang of these two historical forces reveals the oppositional nature of the “ present signifier of production dealingss ” which “ gives marks of its going – – prefiguration of the hereafter ” ( Marx 1858: 461 ) . We have seen that Marx defines the oppositional nature embedded in capitalist relation of production in footings of the separation between manufacturers and agencies of production. Therefore, the definition of crude accretion – – of the beginning of this separation – – is linked to the bosom of Marx ‘s vision of a human society, as it mirrors a vision of its antonym: that the manufacturers have direct entree to the agencies of production ( it goes without stating that the latter refers to a status of corporate production and non simply to an single market scheme of endurance which is alternate to pay labor ) . For Marx, direct entree to the agencies of production can surely get many signifiers, some of which can historically coexist besides with signifiers of development ( see for some illustrations Marx ( 1867: 170-1 ) ) . However, they all show different grades of the thing which is with no uncertainty so cardinal in Marx ‘s thought: manufacturers ‘ liberty and self-government in the administration and disposal of societal labor.

Therefore, crude accretion defined in footings of separation ( which is treated in the last subdivision of volume of Capital ) is merely a mirrored image of Marx ‘s spring into an conjectural post-capitalist society ( suggested in the first subdivision of the same volume ) , in which he imagines, “ an association of free work forces, working with the agencies of production held in common, and using their many different signifiers of labour-power in full self-awareness as one individual societal labor force ” ( Marx 1867: 171. My accent ) .

In a old subdivision I have indicated that the anomic character of labour consequences from the reproduction of the separation between manufacturers and agencies of production within the accretion procedure. The anomic character of labor is of class one of the chief beginnings of built-in and uninterrupted category struggle within Marx ‘s theory of capitalist economy. Besides, its transcendency is for Marx the chief skyline along which he can imagine a post-capitalist society. Within Marx ‘s theoretical and critical model hence, the divorcing embedded in the definition of crude accretion can be understood non merely as beginning of capital vis-a-vis pre-capitalist societal dealingss, but besides as a reaffirmation of capital ‘s precedences vis-a-vis those societal forces that run against this separation. Therefore, pre-capitalist infinites of liberty ( the common land of the English beefeaters ; the economic systems of African population targeted by the slave merchandisers ) are non the lone objects of crude accretion schemes. Objects of crude accretion besides become any given balance of power among categories that constitutes a “ rigidness ” for fostering the capitalist procedure of accretion, or that runs in the opposite way. Since for Marx working category battles are a uninterrupted component of the capitalist relation of production, capital must continuously prosecute in schemes of crude accretion to animate the “ footing ” of accretion itself.

This component of continuity of crude accretion is non merely consistent with Marx ‘s empirical analysis depicting the procedure of crude accretion, but seems besides to be contained in his theoretical model. This because accretion is equal to primitive accretion “ to a higher grade ” , and “ one time capital exists, the capitalist manner of production itself evolves in such a manner that it maintains and reproduces this separation on a invariably increasing graduated table until the historical reversal takes topographic point ” ( Marx 1971: 271. My accent ) . Therefore, the “ historical reversal ” is set as a bound to accretion, and crude accretion is set as a challenge – – from capital ‘s position – – to that “ historical reversal ” . To the extent category struggle creates constrictions to the accretion procedure in the way of cut downing the distance between manufacturers and agencies of production, any scheme used to recover or change by reversal this motion of association is entitled with the classification – systematically with Marx ‘s theory and definition – of crude accretion.

Marx ‘s text is rather clear on this. As cited earlier – I reproduce here for convenience – accretion relies on “ the soundless irresistible impulse of economic dealingss [ which ] sets the seal on the domination of the capitalist over the worker. ” In this instance,

[ vitamin D ] irect extra-economic force is still of class used, but merely in exceeding instances. In the ordinary tally of things, the worker can be left to the `natural Torahs of production ‘ , i.e. it is possible to trust on his dependance on capital, which springs from the conditions of production themselves, and is guaranteed in sempiternity by them ( Marx 1867: 899-900 ) .


during the historical generation of capitalist production. The lifting middle class needs the power of the province, and uses it to `regulate ‘ rewards, i.e. to coerce them into the bounds suited for doing a net income, to lengthen the on the job twenty-four hours, and to maintain the worker himself at his historical degree of dependance. This is an indispensable facet of alleged crude accretion ( Marx 1867: 899-900 ) .

The cardinal difference between “ the ordinary tally of things ” and “ crude accretion ” hence seems to be the being of “ a working category which by instruction, tradition and wont looks upon the demands of that manner of production as axiomatic natural Torahs ” ( ibid. ) . Therefore, in so far as the working category accepts capital ‘s demand as natural Torahs, accretion does non necessitate crude accretion. However, working category struggles represent exactly a rupture in that credence, a non conformance to the Torahs of supply and demand, a refusal of subordination to the “ ordinary tally of things ” . When this happens, two interrelated phenomena follow in Marx ‘s sentiment.

First the ideological usage of political economic system to legalize the “ ordinary tally of things ” , or the “ natural Torahs of capitalist production ” :

every bit shortly as the workers learn the secret of why it happens that the more they work, the more foreign wealth they produce. . .as shortly as, by puting up trade brotherhoods, etc. , they try to form planned co-operation between the employed and the unemployed in order to rid of or to weaken the catastrophic effects of this natural jurisprudence of capitalist production on their category, so shortly does capital and its toady, political economic system, call out at the violation of the `eternal ‘ and so to talk `sacred ‘ jurisprudence of supply and demand. ( Marx 1867: 793 ) .

To the extent we identify ideology as a signifier of societal power ( Bobbio 1990 ) , so this ideological usage of political economic system at this occasion is in itself an extra-economic agencies to re-impose the “ ordinary tally of things ” .

Second, Marx of class emphasises other, more material “ extra- economic agencies ” :

Every combination between employed and unemployed disturbs the `pure ‘ action of this jurisprudence. But on the other manus, every bit shortly as. . . inauspicious fortunes prevent the creative activity of an industrial modesty ground forces, and with it the absolute dependance of the working category upon the capitalist category, capital, along with its bromidic Sancho Panza, Rebels against the `sacred ‘ jurisprudence of supply and demand, and attempts to do up for its insufficiencies by physical agencies ( Marx 1867: 794 ) .

It follows hence that non merely is “ crude accretion, . . . the historical footing, alternatively of the historical consequence, of specifically capitalist production ” ( Marx 1867: 775 ) but it besides acquires a uninterrupted character – – depended on the built-in continuity of societal struggle – – within capitalist production. In the following two subdivisions I provide two short illustrations of these elements of continuity extrapolated from Marx ‘s text.

5.3. Illustration I: The continuity of crude accretion and the enclosures.

The first illustration does non imply a “ mature ” capitalist manner of production, but serves as a better manner to indicate out the conceptual relevancy of category battle for the definition of crude accretion in Marx. I take this illustration from an event that took topographic point during the “ authoritative ” period of English land enclosure. On Sunday 1 April 1649 a little group of hapless work forces collected on St. George ‘s Hill merely outside London and at the border of the Windsor Great Forest, runing land of the male monarch and the royalty. They started delving the land as a “ symbolic premise of ownership of the common lands ” ( Hill 1972: 110 ) . Within 10 yearss, their figure grew to four or five 1000s. One twelvemonth subsequently, “ the settlement had been forcibly dispersed, huts and furniture burnt, the Diggers chased off from the country ” ( Hill 1972: 113 ) . This episode of English history could be systematically added to Marx ‘s Chapter 28, entitled “ Bloody Legislation against the Expropriated ” . Yet, while most of that chapter trades with Tudors ‘ statute law aimed at criminalizing and quashing popular behavior induced by the expropriation of land ( vagrancy, beggary, larceny ) , this episode goes a measure farther, by doing clear that crude accretion acquires intending vis-a-vis forms of opposition and battle. This episode entails the active and organized activity of a mass of urban and landless hapless aimed at the direct re-appropriation of land for its transmutation into common land. Paraphrasing Marx, it was an activity aimed at “ tie ining the manufacturer with the agencies of production. ” It is clear therefore that the force used by the governments to scatter the Diggers, can be understood, systematically with Marx ‘s theory, as an act of “ crude accretion ” , because it reintroduces the separation between manufacturers and agencies of production. Although Marx did non include this episode in his intervention of crude accretion, in Chapter 28 he does mention to a smattering of instances in which battles are counterpoised to province statute law which either represents a “ retreat ” of capital vis-a-vis these battles or an effort to incorporate them.


5.4. Illustration II: The continuity of crude accretion and the “ societal barrier ” against capital.

Another illustration involves a “ mature ” capitalist production and takes us to Marx ‘s description of the relation between absolute and comparative excess value in the instance of the bound to the on the job twenty-four hours. At the terminal of Chapter 10 of Capital on the on the job twenty-four hours, Marx points out how on the job category actions are responsible for raising a “ societal barrier ” on the extension of the on the job twenty-four hours.

For `protection ‘ against the snake of their torments, the workers have to set their caputs together and, as a category, oblige the passing of a jurisprudence, an almighty societal barrier by which they can be prevented from selling themselves and their households into bondage and decease by voluntary contract with capital. In the topographic point of the pompus catalogue of the `inalienable rights of adult male ‘ there steps the modest Magna Carta of the lawfully limited working twenty-four hours, which at least makes clear `when the clip which the worker sells is ended, and when his ain Begins ‘ ( Marx 1867: 416 ) .

This “ almighty societal barrier ” brought about by workers ‘ battles and which defines the extension of the on the job twenty-four hours, sets a bound to the extraction of absolute excess value. The definition of a societal barrier evokes the thought of a societal bound beyond which capital can non travel in fostering the resistance of dead to populating labor. In this sense, this societal barrier is a signifier of “ societal common ” because it sets a bound to the extension, the graduated table of the separation between manufacturers and agencies of production.

It is by “ seting their caputs together. . . as a category ” , and implementing a bound to the working twenty-four hours that the manufacturers assert their human needs vis-a-vis the estranging system of production and shut the spread that separates them from the agencies of production. We encounter here a instance of Polanyi ‘s “ double motion ” .

At this point, capital introduces machinery, that is “ the most powerful arm for stamp downing work stoppages, those periodic rebellions of the working category against the autarchy of capital ” ( Marx 1867: 562 ) . The debut machinery at this junction represents an act of accretion, of diversion of the separation at a greater scale beyond the bound posed by the “ societal barrier ” . By rationalizing the on the job twenty-four hours, reconstituting the work procedure and disregarding the work force, the debut of machinery purposes at short-circuiting that “ societal barrier ” that was erected and hence animate the separation between forces of production and manufacturers at a greater graduated table. In so making it intensifies labour to the extent that “ the denser hr of the 10-hour on the job twenty-four hours contains more labour, i.e. expended labour power, than the more porous hr of the 12-hour on the job twenty-four hours ” ( Marx 1867: 534 ) . It goes without stating that any effort to revoke the jurisprudence that sets the extension of the on the job twenty-four hours would be alternatively an act of antique novo production of that separation, and act of crude accretion.

6. Decision

The interpretive model here provided stressed the continuity of crude accretion and its cardinal continuity in mature capitalist economic systems. The foundation of this continuity is found once we recognise what Marx calls the “ oppositional nature of the capitalist-relation ” or Polanly ‘s has referred to as “ dual motion ” . The consequence is, I believe, a image of Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion which gives us penetrations into the indispensable character of capitalist accretion itself – – the divorce between manufacturers and agencies of production – – and about the bounds posed on capitalist accretion by society. Redeveloping Marx ‘s theory of crude accretion in this manner allows us to recover Marx ‘s theory of capitalist manner of production as the site of conflicting societal dealingss and as an historically transeunt period of human history, elements of Marx ‘s theory that can non be over-stressed.

The accent here put on the basic conceptual similarity between those procedures occurred in the period regarded by historiographers as the morning of capitalist epoch and the age regarded by simple common sense as a mature capitalist system, did non intend to understate the obvious singular differences. The modern signifiers of crude accretion occur in contexts rather different from the 1s in which the English enclosure motion or the slave trade took topographic point. Yet, to underscore their common character allow us to construe the new without burying the difficult lessons of the old. Socio-economic rights and entitlements are in most instances the consequence of past conflicts. State establishments have developed and attempted to suit many of these rights and entitlements with the precedences of a capitalist system. The entitlements and rights guaranteed by the post-war public assistance province for illustration, can be understood as the institutionalisation in peculiar signifiers of societal parks. Together with high growing policies, the execution of full employment policies and the institutionalisation of productiveness trades, the public assistance province was set to suit people ‘s outlooks after two universe wars, the Soviet revolution, and a turning international brotherhood motion. Therefore, the current neoliberal undertaking, which in assorted ways targets the societal parks created in the station war period, set itself as a modern signifier of enclosure, dubbed by some as “ new enclosures ” .

Aim of this paper was merely to propose this nexus between the class of crude accretion and modern neoliberal policies by suggesting a general theoretical model. It is the purpose of another paper to look into this nexus in more inside informations by doting the taxonomy of crude accretion in the context of the current jobs faced today by capitalist accretion and society ‘s ways to support itself against the hegemony of the market.


Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member