Immanuel Wallerstein on "the appropriate unit of analysis"

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Oct 23 13:29:55 MDT 2000

>>> lnp3 at 10/23/00 02:32PM >

>From Immanuel Wallerstein's "The Rise and Future Demise of the World
Capitalist System: Concepts for Comparative Analysis" (1972)


Rosa Luxemburg put her finger on
a key element in Marx's ambiguity or inconsistency in this particular
debate, the ambiguity which enables both Frank and Laclau to trace their
thoughts to Marx:
>>"Admittedly, Marx dealt in detail with the process of appropriating
non-capitalist means of production [N.B., Luxemburg is referring to primary
products produced in peripheral areas under conditions of coerced labor—
I.W.] as well as with the transformation of the peasants into a capitalist
proletariat. Chapter XXIV of Capital, Vol. 1, is devoted to describing the
origin of the English proletariat, of the capitalistic agricultural tenant
class and of industrial capital, with particular emphasis on the looting of
colonial countries by European capital. Yet we must bear in mind that all
this is treated solely with a view to so-called primitive accumulation. For
Marx, these processes are incidental, illustrating merely the genesis of
capital, its first appearance in the world; they are, as it were, travails
by which the capitalist mode of production emerges from a feudal society.
As soon as he comes to analyze the capitalist process of production and
circulation, he reaffirms the universal and exclusive domination of
capitalist production [N.B., that is, production based on wage labor—I.W.]."


CB: Where exactly is this reaffirmation by Marx ? Where is this reaffirmation in
Marx's writings on slavery in the PreUS/Us, for example ? When he says direct slavery
in the U.S. was one of the two pivots on which British capitalism turned in the 1800's

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