A Theory of Capitalist Slavery

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The relationship between slavery and capitalism has become a renewed topic of debate, yet scholars have not been able to agree on a definition of capitalism. In this article I first clear up some misconceptions and situate the debate in the Marxian tradition from which it arose. I argue that while non-Marxian accounts of capitalism fail to explain the key social transformations that have accompanied the rise of capitalism globally, Marxian accounts have failed to comprehend similar transformations that occurred on American slave plantations in the 19th century. I then present a general model of capitalism, building on earlier work by Brenner and Wood, that both incorporates and explains the distinctive dynamics of capitalist slavery in the antebellum South.




Clegg, J. (2020). A Theory of Capitalist Slavery. In Journal of Historical Sociology (Vol. 33, pp. 74–98). Blackwell Publishing Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1111/johs.12259

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