[Marxism] Marx on the Transition Debate: English model

Paul H. Dillon illonph at pacbell.net
Tue May 10 16:37:52 MDT 2005


IMO,.the best place to start the study of the transition debate is the 
exchange between Sweezy and Dobb that followed the publication of Dobb's 
book,  Studies in the Development of Capitalism, International Publishers, 
1947..  The exchange that followed was published in Hilton, et al. The 
Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism, London: NLB 1978.  Although it is 
most directly concerned with the problem of internal or external forces in 
the demise of feudalism, the terrain that is opened up contains the  problem 
of transition between modes of production in general.  A lot was published 
on these issues in the Journal for Peasant Studies and elsewhere throughout 
the 70s and 80s.  The French Marxists of the 60s through 80s, in particular, 
Claude Meillasoux and Pierre Philipple Rey, contributed a lot to this line 
of study.  Rey's "Les alliances del clases" (I'm unsure if its available in 
English. Siglo XXI published a Spanish translation) proposes a more 
generalized model of this using Marx's theory of rent from Vol. 3 of 
Capital, the single volume that contains the most detailed discussion of 
transition, articulation, and alliance between classes of different modes of 
production in the transition period to capitalism (a point that should 
perhaps be taken into account in thinking of the transition to socialism).

Two  chapters of my unpublished dissertation (1984) deal with the issue of 
transitions between modes of production and it's application to the 
historical study of Andean social formations.

Paul H. Dillon

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition" 
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 10, 2005 6:27 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Marx on the Transition Debate: English model

>>where does marx warn of using England's transition to capitalism as the 
>>template for understanding the development of capitalism in other 
>>thanks in advance
> First Draft of Karl Marx's Letter To Vera Zasulich
> 1) In dealing with the genesis of capitalist production I stated that it 
> is founded on "the complete separation of the producer from the means of 
> production" (p. 315, column 1, French edition of Capital) and that "the 
> basis of this whole development is the expropriation of the agricultural 
> producer. To date this has not been accomplished in a radical fashion 
> anywhere except in England... But all the other countries of Western 
> Europe are undergoing the same process" (1.c., column II).
> I thus expressly limited the "historical inevitability" of this process to 
> the countries of Western Europe. And why? Be so kind as to compare Chapter 
> XXXII, where it says:
> The "process of elimination transforming individualised and scattered 
> means of production into socially concentrated means of production, of the 
> pigmy property of the many into the huge property of the few, this painful 
> and fearful expropriation of the working people, forms the origin, the 
> genesis of capital... Private property, based on personal labour ... will 
> be supplanted by capitalist private property, based on the exploitation of 
> the labour of others, on wage labour" (p. 341, column II).
> Thus, in the final analysis, it is a question of the transformation of one 
> form of private property into another form of private property. Since the 
> land in the hands of the Russian peasants has never been their private 
> property, how could this development be applicable?
> full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/03/zasulich1.htm
> For a discussion of Marx's letters to the Russian populists, see Teodor 
> Shanin's "Late Marx" (Monthly Review Press).
> --
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