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The Key Contradiction in Capitalist System


  • Bruno Jossa

    (University of Naples “Federico II,†Napoli, Italy)


Which is the fundamental contradiction of capitalism: the capital-labor polarity or the contrast between socialized production and private appropriation? Those looking on the capital-labor polarity as the main contradiction will argue that socialism arises when the passage from a system controlled by capital owners to a system of worker-run firms sparks off the reversal of the usual capital-labor relation. Conversely, those who think that the key contradiction of capitalism is the contrast between socialized production and private appropriation will contend that the social order to rise from the ashes of capitalism is a centrally planned system. This paper reports arguments in support of the former option.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Jossa, 2014. "The Key Contradiction in Capitalist System," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 46(3), pages 277-291, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:46:y:2014:i:3:p:277-291

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    producers’ cooperatives; socialism; dialectics;

    JEL classification:

    • P13 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Cooperative Enterprises
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • J54 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Producer Cooperatives; Labor Managed Firms


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