Conclusions: On So-Called Primitive Accumulation

  • Andre Gunder Frank


The process of capital accumulation is a, if not the, principal motor of modern history and constitutes the central problem examined in this book. Yet capital accumulation, and its treatment here, poses a number of fundamental theoretical and therefore also empirical questions that remain largely unresolved. These questions fall into four related categories: (1) primitive, primary, and capitalist capital accumulation; (2) the unequal structure and relations of production, circulation, and realization in capital accumulation; (3) uneven transformation of capital accumulation through stages, cycles, and crises; and (4) unending class struggle in capital accumulation, through the state, war, and revolution. Insofar as one single and continuous process of capital accumulation has existed in this world for several centuries, this heuristic division of the problem into unequal structure, uneven process, and so on is necessarily arbitrary. The structural inequality and temporal unevenness of capital accumulation, on the other hand, are inherent to capitalism.


Eighteenth Century Capital Accumulation Sixteenth Century Wage Labor Fifteenth Century 
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Copyright information

© Andre Gunder Frank 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andre Gunder Frank
    • 1
  1. 1.StarnbergGermany

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