Category Archives: Marxism

Primitive Accumulation

From Capital, volume 1 (1867)

 [P]rimitive accumulation plays in Political Economy about the same part as original sin in theology. Adam bit the apple, and thereupon sin fell on the human race. Its origin is supposed to be explained when it is told as an anecdote of the past. In times long gone by there were two sorts of people; one, the diligent, intelligent, and, above all, frugal elite; the other, lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living. The legend of theological original sin tells us certainly how man came to be condemned to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow; but the history of economic original sin reveals to us that there are people to whom this is by no means essential. Never mind! Thus it came to pass that the former sort accumulated wealth, and the latter sort had at last nothing to sell except their own skins. And from this original sin dates the poverty of the great majority that, despite all its labour, has up to now nothing to sell but itself, and the wealth of the few that increases constantly although they have long ceased to work. Such insipid childishness is every day preached to us in the defence of property…. In actual history it is notorious that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, briefly force, play the great part…. [T]he methods of primitive accumulation are anything but idyllic.

Quantity/Quality (425)

Quality and Quantity

Quality is the basic character or nature of something. Quantity is a variable amount of a thing, where the amount does not affect the quality (the basic nature) of what that thing is.

When the quantity of something changes, i.e. if a book has 100 pages as opposed to 50 pages, a quantitative change has occurred. There are times however, when the amount of change in a thing changes its very character. For example, if the book was reduced to one page, it is no longer a book. When change affects the very character of the thing, a qualitative change has occurred.

https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/q/u.htm