Social Scientist. v 4, no. 48 (July 1976) p. 51.

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Marxian Political Economy


MARX'S ANALYSIS of the capitalist mode of production (CMP) begins with the commodity. Commodity production itself, however, is a more general category than capitalist production. The latter is in fact the result of the historical development of commodity production. One can clearly bring out this point by distinguishing between simple commodity production (SCP) and capitalist (commodity) production.

By simple commodity production is meant a system of social production wherein (a) individual producers own their means of production^ (b) they bring their products for exchange into the market, and (c) ^the ability to labour" or labour-power of the individual is not bought or sold.

Thus under SCP, we do not have the full and generalized development of commodity production in so far as labour-power itself has not become a commodity.

The crucial feature that distinguishes the capitalist mode of pioduction from simple commodity production is precisely the purchase and sale of labour-'power. This feature is conspicuously absent in simple -commodity production.

Historically the rise to dominance of the CMP followed the development of SCP in tl e womb of feudal society. The main economic

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