chapter  18
19 Pages

Primitive accumulation and historical inevitability

A postcolonial critique
ByAnjan Chakrabarti, Stephen Cullenberg, Anup Dhar

This chapter shows how late Karl Marx revised the concept of primitive accumulation and challenged the idea of historical inevitability. In the case of England, Marx emphasized the expropriation of land, as a condition of primitive accumulation. Having moved away from the nineteenth century discourse of historical inevitability, the chapter interprets Marx as pointing to independent and communist class enterprises with reference to land organizations and a theorizing of primitive accumulation as a process of dismantling existing or possible forms of non-capitalist existences. In so far as the Indian state is considered, it is one form of primitive accumulation-direct land acquisition-that has particularly caught attention. The Russian transition discussion posed the difficult issue of whether Russia should take the path of capitalist development as it had unfolded in England. In his effort to theorize capitalism, Marx ended up giving us a clue to conceptualizing the 'economy' as diverse, in which capitalism is one social form among many that co-exist.