Capital Study Series: Session 10


  • Capital, Chapter 26 – The Secret of Primitive Accumulation
  • Capital, Chapter 27 – Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the Land
  • Capital, Chapter 28 – Bloody Legislation against the Expropriated, from the End of the 15th Century. Forcing down of Wages by Acts of Parliament
  • Capital, Chapter 29: Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer
  • Capital, Chapter 30: Reaction of the Agricultural Revolution on Industry. Creation of the Home-Market for Industrial Capital
  • Capital, Chapter 31: Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist
  • Capital, Chapter 32: Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation
  • Capital, Chapter 33: The Modern Theory of Colonisation


Optional Reading:

Study Questions:

The questions below are borrowed from the Marxists Internet Archive and Harry Cleaver’s website.

  1. If colonization was a way out of its crisis for capitalism in Marx’s day, has this remained the case?
  2. Do you think the concentration of capital has continued uninterrupted up to the present day? What in general do you think has happened to the distribution of wealth?
  3. Does socialism need a phase of “primitive accumulation”?
  4. Discuss the issue of cultural creation and destruction in the rise of capitalism. Give some examples of cultures which were mostly, or entirely destroyed. Was this destruction a one-time phenomenon of primitive accumulation or has it been an ongoing process?
  5. List the punishments Marx mentions for refusal to work? Are there such punishments today? What are they? In society in general? In the school? In the family? In prisons?
  6. What was the role of the “international credit system” in primitive accumulation? Explain Marx’s examples. What do you imagine is its role today? Do you think Marx’s comment – “A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States without any birth-certificate, was yesterday, in England (or elsewhere), the capitalized blood of children.” (Chapter 31) – is still true?