‘Primitive’ Capital Accumulation

  • Amlan Datta


The idea of ‘primitive accumulation’ is set forth by Karl Marx (1818–83) in Volume I of Capital in the following words:

The accumulation of capital presupposes surplus-value; surplus-value presupposes capitalistic production; capitalistic production presupposes the preexistence of considerable masses of capital and of labour-power in the hands of producers of commodities. The whole movement, therefore, seems to turn in a vicious circle, out of which one can only get by supposing a primitive accumulation (previous accumulation of Adam Smith) preceding capitalistic accumulation; an accumulation not the result of the capitalist mode of production, but its starting point.1


Eighteenth Century Capital Accumulation Capital Formation Capitalistic Production Silk Textile 


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© Amlan Datta 1973

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  • Amlan Datta

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