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Primitive Accumulation and the Labor Subsidies to Capitalism


  • Tamar Diana Wilson

    (University of Missouri, St. Louis)


It is argued in this paper, following the insights of Rosa Luxemburg and others, that primitive accumulation is a constant and ongoing process integral to capital accumulation. Concentrating on workers who are raised and sustained in times of unemployment by subsistence agriculture or informal income-generating activities by self or family members, often women, it is seen how their labor is commodified. The recurrent migration of parts of this global reserve army of labor, whether internally or transnationally, provides a variety of subsidies to capitalist enterprise.JEL classification: J16, J61, D13

Suggested Citation

  • Tamar Diana Wilson, 2012. "Primitive Accumulation and the Labor Subsidies to Capitalism," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 44(2), pages 201-212, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:44:y:2012:i:2:p:201-212

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    primitive accumulation; capitalist accumulation; labor migration; recurrent migration; labor subsidy to capitalism;

    JEL classification:

    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation


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