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27

Empire in the Age of Capital

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Meiksins Wood, E. (2011). Empire in the Age of Capital. In Lilley, S. Capital and Its Discontents: Conversations with Radical Thinkers in a Time of Tumult. PM Press, pp. 27-42

27

[....] The whole capitalist system is operated by market imperatives, the compulsions of competition, profit-maximization, and capital accumulation.

Why don't commerce or trade in goods constitute capitalism, as some might assume?

EMW: I make a distinction between market opportunities and market imperatives. And I think it’s only in capitalism that you have a system in which people are obliged, are compelled, to enter the market simply to guarantee their own existence and their own self-reproduction. There have been markets throughout history in which people have brought their surpluses to sell, but there’s never been a system before capitalism in which producers and appropriators both were absolutely dependent on the market for their most basic conditions of life and therefore compelled to follow the dictates of the market in order to sustain themselves.

—p.27 by Ellen Meiksins Wood 4 years, 10 months ago

[....] The whole capitalist system is operated by market imperatives, the compulsions of competition, profit-maximization, and capital accumulation.

Why don't commerce or trade in goods constitute capitalism, as some might assume?

EMW: I make a distinction between market opportunities and market imperatives. And I think it’s only in capitalism that you have a system in which people are obliged, are compelled, to enter the market simply to guarantee their own existence and their own self-reproduction. There have been markets throughout history in which people have brought their surpluses to sell, but there’s never been a system before capitalism in which producers and appropriators both were absolutely dependent on the market for their most basic conditions of life and therefore compelled to follow the dictates of the market in order to sustain themselves.

—p.27 by Ellen Meiksins Wood 4 years, 10 months ago