Capital Without Wage-Labour: Marx's Modes of Subsumption Revisited

Economics and Philosophy, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Last revised: 19 Nov 2017

Nicholas Vrousalis

Leiden University - Institute of Political Science

Date Written: March 22, 2017

Abstract

This paper argues that capitalist social relations do not presuppose wage-labour. It defends a functional definition of the capitalist relations of production, in terms of what Marx calls the ‘subsumption of labour by capital’. I argue that there are at least four modes of subsumption, one transitional to and one transitional from the capitalist mode of production. Unlike the capitalist mode of production, capitalist relations of production are compatible with the absence of a labour market, and even with the absence of workplace authority relations. The ambit of capitalist domination is therefore broader than sometimes thought.

Keywords: Exploitation Theory, Historical Materialism, Marxism, Value-Form Theory, Agrarian Capitalism

JEL Classification: P13, P26, P48, B14

Suggested Citation

Vrousalis, Nicholas, Capital Without Wage-Labour: Marx's Modes of Subsumption Revisited (March 22, 2017). Economics and Philosophy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3056998

Nicholas Vrousalis (Contact Author)

Leiden University - Institute of Political Science ( email )

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
PO Box 9555
Leiden, 2300 RB
Netherlands

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