Habib, Capitalism in History

dms dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 4 15:12:52 MDT 2003

Let me put my question, and concern, in a nutshell, and I think in a way,
answer the question of which has to come first, the chicken (the social
relation) or the egg (the extracted wealth).

My question, concern, contention, is:  Does the accumulation of wealth
create the necessary and sufficient conditions for the transformation of
property, social, labor relations into the relations of capital and wage

I do not, in my limited research, find that, because I do not find the the
mechanisms by which that wealth is funnelled through existing social
relations to create a new arrangement, a new exchange of property and labor.

Where and how does this change, this dispossession of labor, this stripping
of labor from all resources, connections, use, save as a mechanism for
exchange occur.

I have no doubt that plunder, slavery, looting are critical, coincident, and
"accelerators" to the development of capitalism.  I have no doubt that the
expansion of trade, the ascendancy of the mercantilists is an historical
precursor and necessity.

I just need to see something-- the lines of the plunder and loot being used
to dispossess labor from the means and mechanisms of its own sustenance.

I want to see the social relation of wage-labor and capital being created in
the primitive accumulation, or in primitive accumulation step 2.

Perhaps this is too simple a formulation, but it's about as plain as I can
make my earlier disagreements.

<nsiemensma at yahoo.com.au>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2003 11:37 PM
Subject: Re:Habib, Capitalism in History

> Les, my questions weren't specifically in response to
> Habib's article, which I haven't read for years.
> David Schanoes had commented that American mineral
> wealth was only important to the emergence of
> industrial capitalism because of prior transformations
> in English agrarian relations.  My response was that
> the logic of those very tranformations had a long
> history and was itself shaped and moulded by England's
> participation since ancient times in a longstanding
> international division of labour which connected
> Eurasia.  One of the main commodities of this
> world-system was textiles, and this was the objective
> and material context in which surface events in the
> "English countryside" was embedded.
> I agree we should keep it simple, and didn't want to
> drag out all this other stuff.  My basic point was
> that the determining last-instance in the emergence of
> capitalism was the *imperialist* world-system:
> imperialism was present as the formative influence
> from the beginning and is determinant now.  That
> entails a certain kind of politics and not others,
> which is of course the reason for this whole debate.
> Nick

More information about the Marxism mailing list