Forwarded from Anthony (primitive accumulation)

dmschanoes dmschanoes at
Mon Sep 1 12:44:26 MDT 2003

The difference between primitive accumulation and plunder is critical and
the two should not be confused.  The difference is history.

The significance of primitive accumulation is exactly, and solely, in its
"dirty little secret," the dispossession of the laborers from the means of
subsistence and production, the stripping of all value from labor, save its
value in exchange.

Fraud, plunder, speculation, extortion don't necessarily contain any dirty
little secrets at their core that enable the primary social relationship of
capital, and when those wonderful techniques due strip labor of all value,
they do not simultaneously organized the means of production as the element
for sustained exchange.

The looting of Barings, the BCCI scandal, Charles Keating and the great S&L
swindle were engendered by declines in particular and/or general levels of
profit, but they did not amount to the accumulation of the means of
production as private property in the hands of owners seeking exchange with
near destitute labor.

In fact, since these great frauds and swindles actually removed capital from
this process of exchange in terms of hoarding it, converting it to gold, of
in the case of Imelda shoes (note to NS: humorous remark), villas, we could
argue that those vehicles are actually disaccumulation and part of the
necessary devaluation of the capitalist network due to overproduction.

Hey, there's a thought, primitive accummulation now reappears as modern


----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>
To: <marxism at>
> Although 'primitive accumulation' of capital in the sense of 'original
> accumulation' ended once capitalism - the employment of wage labor as the
> dominant means of production - became the dominant mode of production
> worldwide, plunder, the main component int he actual process of primitive
> accumulation, continues as an important method of accumulating capital.
> By plunder I mean theft in all of its forms from Wall Street swindles, to

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