Marx’s diagram of enlarged reproduction cannot explain the actual and

historical process of accumulation. And why? Because of the very

premises of the diagram. The diagram sets out to describe the accumu-

lative process on the assumption that the capitalists and workers are the

sole agents of capitalist consumption. We have seen that Marx consist-

ently and deliberately assumes the universal and exclusive domination

of the capitalist mode of production as a theoretical premise of his

analysis in all three volumes of Capital. Under these conditions, there

can admittedly be no other classes of society than capitalists and work-

ers; as the diagram has it, all ‘third persons’ of capitalist society-civil

servants, the liberal professions, the clergy, etc.—must, as consumers,

be counted in with these two classes, and preferably with the capitalist

class. This axiom, however, is a theoretical contrivance-real life has

never known a self-sufficient capitalist society under the exclusive

domination of the capitalist mode of production. This theoretical

device is perfectly admissible so long as it merely helps to demonstrate

the problem in its integrity and does not interfere with its very condi-

tions. A case in point is the analysis of simple reproduction of the

aggregate social capital, where the problem itself rests upon a fiction: in

a society producing by capitalist methods, i.e. a society which creates

surplus value, the whole of the latter is taken to be consumed by the

capitalists who appropriate it. The object is to present the forms of

social production and reproduction under these given conditions. Here

the very formulation of the problem implies that production knows no

other consumers than capitalists and workers and thus strictly con-

forms to Marx’s premise: universal and exclusive domination of the

capitalist mode of production. The implications of both fictions are the

same. Similarly, it is quite legitimate to postulate absolute dominance

of capital in an analysis of the accumulation of individual capitals, such

as is given in Capital, volume i. The reproduction of individual capitals

is an element in total social reproduction but one which follows an

independent course, contrary to the movements of the other elements.