Labour Regime Change in the Twenty-First Century

Unfreedom, Capitalism and Primitive Accumulation

Tom Brass


Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2016


324 pages

Price INR 750.00

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The object is to assess the validity, in the light of current economic development, of the epistemology structuring different historical interpretations linking capitalism, unfreedom and primitive accumulation. Conventional wisdom is that – regarding the incompatibility between capitalism and unfreedom – an unbroken continuity links Marxism to Adam Smith, Malthus, Mill and Max Weber. Challenging this, it is argued Marxism accepts that, where class struggle is global, capitalist producers employ workers who are unfree. The reasons are traced to the conceptualization by Smith of labour as value, by Hegel of labour as property, and by Marx of labour-power as commodity that can be bought/sold. From this stems the free/unfree distinction informing the process of becoming, being, remaining, and acting as a proletariat.

Tom Brass

Tom Brass (3 March 1946) is a leading Marxist scholar who has written extensively on peasant studies.