Social Scientist. v 5, no. 56 (March 1977) p. 41.

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Marxian Political Economy


THE PREVIOUS ARTICLE in this series introduced the concept of social reproduction, distinguished into two kinds: simple and expanded. A study of simple reproduction is analytically useful. It is however clear that the main feature of the capitalist mode of production from the standpoint of reproduction is the conversion of surplus value into capital, that is, expanded reproduction or the accumulation of capital. Marx's analysis emphasizes that use values must never be looked upon as the aim of the capitalist. Capital, by virtue of its very nature as self-expansion of value, strives to expand ceaselessly. To discover the economic laws of motion of the capitalist mode of production, therefore, one must analyze the process of capitalist accumulation. The present article is an attempt to present Marx's analysis of the process.

Marx arrives at what he calls the general law of capitalist accumulation by bringing together a number of strands of theoretical argument that he first develops. His procedure is followed in this exposition. Briefly, the accumulation process leads to (a) the replacement, on an increasing scale, of living labour by machinery, (b) the ruin of many capitalists and the survival of fewer and fewer capitalists in the competitive struggle, with these survivors controlling ever larger amounts of capital, and (c), as a result of both the above developments, the

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