Reading Guide to: Marx, K  (1954)  [1887]  'The So - Called Primitive Accumulation', in Capital, Volume 1, Part VIII, Lawrence and Wishart: London.

This is an excellent piece of Marx's actual writing that is particularly suitable for the beginner, even though it comes right at the end of  Capital Vol 1. It demonstrates beautifully Marx's historical analyses. These are based on a wide range of historical evidence and argument, often produced by bourgeois commentators, and apparently giving full weight to economic, political, and even religious factors in social change. At the same time, the analysis is highly critical of bourgeois analyses, especially badly thought-out ones, and the critique has clear political implications. We are stripping away ideological conceptions of the growth of capitalism here, and substituting for them critical detailed history. The writing is not at all dull or technical, and the results are compelling and interesting.

Chapter XX VI The Secret of Primitive Accumulation
The notion of primitive accumulation offers a simple ideological account of the growth of capitalism, just like  'original sin in theology.' (667). In the distant past, 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' (667). The former accumulated wealth, while the latter  'had at last nothing to sell except their own skins' (667). This original sin is responsible for the poverty of the great majority, and for the sanctity of private property.

This  'intellectual food of the infant' (668) is to be contrasted with  'actual history... [where]... it is notorious that conquest, enslavement, robbery, murder, briefly force, play the great part... as a matter of fact, the methods of primitive accumulation are anything but idyllic' (668).

It is no good just accumulating money and commodities, unless they can be turned into capital. But this requires both capitalists and labourers, the latter ideally  'free' to respond flexibly to the labour market  (which also means they are  'free from, unencumbered by, any means of production of their own' -- 668). This implies there has been a process of  'freeing' labour --'The so-called primitive accumulation, therefore, is nothing else than the historical process of divorcing the producer  from the means of production' (668).

Capitalism therefore arises from the dissolution of the feudal system. Labourers were indeed liberated from serfdom and the restrictions of apprenticeships and the like, and this liberating side is the only one celebrated by bourgeois historians. The other side is that they were also  'robbed of all their own means of production, and of all the guarantees of existence afforded by the old feudal arrangements. And the history of this, their expropriation, is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire' (669). In a similar way, the excessive power of feudal lords was also much diminished by the new possessors of wealth -- but this freedom also came at a price. In effect, the 'servitude of the labourer' simply took on a new form, from feudal to capitalist exploitation.

That capitalism can only grow with the abolition of feudalism is indicated by historical analysis -- the main capitalist era  'dates from the 16th century' (669), and it appears only where serfdom, and the existence of sovereign towns has disappeared.

The process actually began with removing peasants from their traditional lands, and the classic form of this process is found best in England.

Chapter XXVII Expropriation of the Agricultural Population from the Land

Serfdom had disappeared in England by the end of the 14th century, leaving a group of 'free peasant proprietors', some of whom also worked as independent wage labourers. However, peasant farmers had their own land and the right to use common land. Peasant properties were rather loosely organised in very large baronies. However, this was incompatible with the growth of capitalism.

The first stage was to break up bands of feudal retainers, in the 15th and early 16th century. Peasants were also driven from the land, and common land seized. The growth of the wool industry  'gave the direct impulse to these evictions' (672). War had also decimated the old nobility: money became the basis of the new nobility. Marx refers to a number of contemporary historians for evidence here.

The state was originally worried about the social upheaval produced by the changes and attempted to restrict them. For example, ownership was limited to a mere 2000 sheep, and farmsteads were ordered to be rebuilt. The idea was to maintain the economic independence of small farmers and peasants, but  'What the capitalist system demanded was, on the other hand, a degraded and almost servile condition of the mass of the people, the transformation of them into mercenaries, and of their means of labour into capital' (674). The Crown seemed powerless to resist, even when Cromwell insisted that houses (those close to London at least) should always be built with accompanying land to enable the inhabitants to support themselves.

The Reformation and the break-up of monasteries also assisted this processes. The inhabitants of monasteries became proletarians, the Church estates were given away to modernising landlords, and the traditional rights of church tenants were abandoned. As a result, pauperism increased dramatically, and this was also the beginning of various poor laws and poor relief. Finally, the religious underpinnings of the 'traditional conditions of landed property... were no longer tenable' (676) -- these included rights to independent living, of course. By about 1750, the traditional yeomen had disappeared and so had  'the last trace of the common land of the agricultural labourer' (676). Marx here has decided to  'leave on one side... the purely economic causes of the agricultural revolution... [and]... deal only with the forcible means employed' (676), possibly for rhetorical reasons?

After the Restoration this process continued, and feudal obligations were abolished. Political obligations to the state were replaced by a taxation system, and feudal rights to land were replaced by modern private property rights. William of Orange was accompanied by  'the landlord and capitalist appropriators of surplus value' (677). There was not even  'the slightest observation of legal etiquette' (677). Free trade in land was promoted, the growth of finance and manufacture accompanied the emergence of the new landed aristocracy.

Communal property, still alive in feudalism, was gradually usurped, often under the guise of turning arable into pasture land. There were also  'individual acts of violence', involved  (677). Gradually though, Parliament and the law legalised and regularised  'the theft of the people's land' (678), in the form of Enclosure Acts. This reduced independent yeomen to tenants, but also facilitated the growth of  'capital farms, or merchant farms' (678), and 'freed' the agricultural population for labour in the cities.

These proposals were resisted, initially (in the 18th century), and Marx cites some critics (pages 678 - 9). Another sign of social problems was the increase of those requiring official poor law relief. However, defenders of enclosures justified them on the grounds that  'the nation' gained an advantage from more efficient working. As Marx points out, this implies that the victims evidently did not belong to  'the nation'. More interestingly, even the '"sacred rights of property"' (680) were being violated, in the interests of developing capitalism. Generally, the changes were seen as inevitable, and, by the 19th century, the original connections between labourers and communal land were largely forgotten, although  'the agricultural population received [not] a farthing of compensation for the 3,511,770 acres of common land which between 1801 and 1831 were stolen from them and by parliamentary devices presented to the landlords by the landlords' (681).

In the last stage, estates were 'cleared'  'i.e.sweeping men off them' (681). This was especially evident in the Highlands of Scotland,  'the promised land of modern romance' (681), where it was pursued particularly systematically. Originally, the Celtic clans owned the land, and the chief simply symbolised this ownership. This symbolic ownership has turned into real ownership, and communal became private property. The resulting social dissent led to violence, and  'the hunted out Gaels were forbidden to emigrate from the country, with a view to driving them by force to Glasgow and other manufacturing towns' (682). The Duchess of Sutherland's methods illustrate this -- she 'hunted and rooted out' some 15,000 inhabitants, destroyed and burnt the villages, turn their fields into pasturage, and called in British soldiers for support. As a result, 'this fine lady appropriated 794,000 acres of land that had from time immemorial belonged to the clan' (683). She originally resettled some inhabitants on the seashore, on wasteland, and replaced them by sheep. The displaced began to turn to fishing  'They became amphibious and lived, as an English author says, half on land and half on water, and withal only half on both' (683). When this proved successful  'The smell of their fish rose to the noses of the great men' (683), and the seashore was rented out to London fishmongers. Finally, even the sheep walks were turned into more profitable deer preserves, or deer  'forests', so that even more people had to be displaced  [Marx here quotes from the report of a certain Robert Somers].

So the  'idyllic methods of primitive accumulation' (685) really involved spoliation, robbery, usurpation, and massive social upheaval, all 'under circumstances of reckless terrorism'  (685).

Chapter XXVIII Bloody Legislation Against the Expropriated. From the End of the 15th Century. Forcing Down of Wages by Acts of Parliament
The social process of throwing people onto the labour market produced an excess of rootless people, who became beggars, robbers, or vagabonds  'partly from inclination, in most cases from stress of circumstances' (686). This in turn produced  'bloody legislation', which blamed the victims.

[A short history of such legislation ensues, beginning with Henry VII....]

In 1530 [up to Henry VIII by now], some beggars were licensed, while  'sturdy vagabonds' were beaten and told to find work --  'What grim irony!' (686). Later penalties for work refusal included being made a slave, a practice that persisted  'in England until far into the 19th century' (687). Beggars were flogged or branded and could be imprisoned or executed under the reign of Elizabeth I and James I. Similar legislation existed in pre-revolutionary France.  'Thus were the agricultural people, first forcibly expropriated from the soil, driven from their homes, turned into vagabonds, and then whipped, branded, tortured by laws grotesquely terrible, into the discipline necessary for the wage system' (688).

Resistance was also broken to the advance of capitalist production by attempts to make  'the conditions of that mode of production as self evident laws of Nature' (689). Wages could be kept down by the 'constant generation of a relative surplus population', and this produced the apparently natural and eternal 'dull compulsion of economic relations', but compulsion only for a labourer, of course (689). The power of the state was used initially to regulate wages,  'to force them within the limits suitable for surplus value making, to lengthen the working day and to keep the labourer himself in the normal degree of dependence. This is an essential element of the so-called primitive accumulation' (689).

Originally, in the 14th century, wage labour was protected by guild organisations, and even the social relations of master and workman were close. The value of waged labour, as variable capital, formed a large part of the value of goods produced, and so the demand for wage labour was and remained high. Similarly most of what was produced found its way into 'the consumption fund of the labourer' (689). Legislation was soon aimed first to exploit the labourer, and then with increasing hostility to discipline him [male pronouns used throughout -- apologies].

Thus, in one example, wages were to be fixed by law, and penalties were levied on anyone who took higher wages (there was no lower limit on wages!).  '[A]ll combinations, contracts, oaths, etc by which masons and carpenters reciprocally bound themselves, were declared null and void. Coalition of the labourers is treated as a heinous crime from the 14th century to 1825' (690). Money wages were kept low even in periods of inflation. Eventually, the market regulated wages, but in many cases the old legal powers remained -- so, for example,  'in 1799, an Act of Parliament ordered that the wages of the Scotch miners should continue to be regulated by statute of Elizabeth and two Scotch Acts of 1661 and 1671' (691). There was a proposal for a legal minimum wage for agricultural labourers, which was lost, and the regulation of wages were finally abolished, because it was already redundant --  'the capitalist regulated his factory by his private legislation, and could by the poor rates make up the wage of the agricultural labourer to the indispensable minimum' (691). The laws against trade unions  'fell in 1825 before the threatening bearing of the proletariat' (691), and even then many provisions remained, including provisions to place strikes and lock-outs under  'exceptional penal legislation, the interpretation of which fell to the masters themselves in their capacity as justices of the peace' (692) [pretty similar to some of the anti-Union legislation of the 1980s in the UK]. The old laws against 'conspiracy' were also revived and applied to industrial action [this was revived in the 1980s too]. This rearguard action 'under the pressure of the masses' reveals clearly how the English Parliament functioned as a  'permanent Trades' Union of the capitalists against the labourers' (692).

Even during the French Revolution, workers were soon denied the right of association and coalition, which  'confined the struggle between capital and labour within limits comfortable for capital' (692). This has only recently been reformed [i.e. in the 1870s]. It was defended for years in a classic bourgeois manner -- wages should be a bit higher, so that no one lacks the necessaries of life,  'yet the workers must not be allowed to come to any understanding about their own interests, nor to act in common and thereby lessen their "absolute dependence, which is almost that of slavery"; because, forsooth, in doing this they injure  "the freedom of their cidavent [sic] masters, the present entrepreneurs", and because the coalition against the despotism of the... masters... is -- guess what! --... a restoration of the corporations abolished by the French constitution.' (693).

Chapter XXIX Genesis of the Capitalist Farmer
Having explained how  'a class of outlawed proletarians' (694) came into creation, Marx now returns to explaining the origins of the capitalist class. At first, the main beneficiaries of the attack on common law and common land were the  'great landed proprietors' (694). Capitalist farmers took longer to evolve. Land was owned in a variety of different ways, by bailiffs originally, and then by farmers still very much acting as agents of their landlords, but then farmers began to employ their own labourers and own their own agricultural stock -- part of the surplus product was returned to landlords as rent. Surplus value was being created under this process, but the conditions of the farmers were not notably improved until the  'agricultural revolution which commenced in the last third of the 15th century, and continued during almost the whole of the 16th' (694).

Acquiring what was formerly common land was crucial. The stock of cattle could be increased 'almost without cost'  (695), and they were also used to  increase the fertility of the soil. What we might now call inflation also helped -- rents were typically fixed for long periods, while inflation reduced their real value  [Marx explains this in terms of the fall of the value of precious metals, to which the value of money was traditionally linked]. Prices rose at the same time. This combination  'brought the farmers golden fruit... they grew rich at the expense both of their labourers and their landlords' (695).

Chapter XXX Reaction of the Agricultural Revolution on Industry. Creation of the Home - Market for Industrial Capital.

The creation of labourers  'freed' from the restrictions of the corporate guilds seemed like 'divine intervention of Providence' (697). However, it was the agricultural revolution, that maintained or increased productivity with fewer agricultural labourers, that produced this free labour. The declining ability to produce their own food forced them to become wage labourers for industrial capitalists.

There is nothing mysterious about this. On the surface, industrial produce looks the same,  'but a new social soul has popped into its body. It forms now a part of the constant capital of the master manufacturer... it is now concentrated in hand of one capitalist... The extra labour expended in production  [no longer realises itself] in extra income for [the producers, but] realises its self now in profit for a few capitalists' (698). This is hard to perceive, although early commentators were able to note the extent of the change as manufacturers concentrated production into much larger units. Already, those accounts  [and Marx here is quoting Mirabeau] suggested that greater efficiency would follow, accumulation proceed, and the general standard of living rise -- thus these processes 'also created the home-market' (699).

The 'raw materials and means of subsistence' themselves have become commodities', even for those small artisans who remained. Class capital tends to encourage concentration, 'the destruction of rural domestic industry' (700). This produces the necessary internal market. The process is not altogether an even one, since capitalism also requires a certain level of domestic industry and handicraft, to produce raw materials in some cases. The example here is the persistence of  'a new class of small villagers who, while following the cultivation of the soil as an accessory calling, find their chief occupation in industrial labour, the products of which they sell to the manufacturers directly, or through the medium of merchants' (700). In this way, the peasantry continues to reappear in history, although always under worse conditions. They are needed in different times, as arable farming and cattle farming alternates as the major form of agricultural production. The peasants do not finally disappear until we eventually get mechanised modern industry, the final triumph for industrial capital as opposed to agricultural.

Chapter XXX I Genesis of the Industrial Capitalist
The term  'industrial capitalist' is just used to help distinguish manufacturers from agricultural capitalists -- Marx notes that  'In the "categoric" sense the farmer is an industrial capitalist as much as the manufacturer' (702).

Some small artisans or wage labourers transform themselves into small capitalists and then slowly into larger ones [the 'primitive accumulation' myth]. But the real impetus in the growth of industrial capitalism was  'the commercial requirements of the new world market that the great discoveries of the end of the 15th century created' (702). However, there were two kinds of capital which had to be transformed first --'usurer's capital and merchant's capital' (702). The laws against usury helped to limit the substantial concentration of capital into private ownership, but these were abolished, partly because manufacturing was established  'at sea ports, or at inland points beyond the control of the old municipalities and their guilds' (703).

Other impulses include the discovery of gold and silver in America, the  'conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins' (703), followed by the 'commercial war of the European nations'.  'These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation' (703). The power of the state is needed to organise this substantial transformation of the feudal mode of production --  'Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power' (703). Even Christian commentators were appalled by the history of colonialism  [and Marx here is quoting from Howitt and even Raffles]. Monopolies were rapidly established, and became  'inexhaustible mines of wealth' (704). Contracts, like the one for the supply of opium, could be resold for substantial profits, or, in another example, 'the English  [in India in 1769] manufactured a famine by buying up all the rice and refusing to sell it again, except at fabulous prices' (705). Thus,  'Great fortunes sprang up like mushrooms in a day; primitive accumulation went on without the advance of a shilling' (704).

As for the role of Protestants in primitive accumulation:  'Those sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703 by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured redskin' (705). Looted treasures turned into capital in European centres, such as Holland, the economic power of the 1640s. The colonial period had the effect of proclaiming  'surplus value making as the sole end and aim of humanity' (706). Colonialism also brought about the notion of the national debt and the finances that depend on it.

Public debt helps to develop so-called primitive accumulation, by permitting money to be turned into capital without taking the risks of employment in industry or usury. There are no risks for lenders, since they receive public bonds which are as good as cash, but the money released 'has given rise to joint stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage [sic], in a word to stock exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy' (706).

Banks began as associations of speculators who were prepared to lend money to the government. The Bank of England began as a lender, and in exchange was allowed to produce banknotes which finally became the coin of the realm. Gradually, it was able to centralise all commercial credit, and this is what led to the  'sudden uprising of this brood of bankocrats, financiers, rentiers, brokers, stock jobbers etc' (707). With national debts, international credit became possible, another concealed  'source of primitive accumulation' (707). Thus Holland soon ceased to be  'preponderant in commerce and industry', and profited instead by lending enormous amounts of capital, even to its rivals, like England  (707). England did the same for the USA  [in other words, the USA. just did not need to accumulate its own capital in a primitive way].

The national debt becomes a major part of public revenue, and this leads to government financing and systems of taxation. The government seems to have a constant need to accumulate new debt. Taxation was long recognised as having the important political consequence of  'making the wage labourer submissive, frugal, industrious, and overburdened with labour' (Marx quoting DeWitt, page 708). However, the sheer economic functions of taxation as  'forcible expropriation', especially its effects on the lower-middle-class, are just as important. Indeed, public debt and the financial system is sometimes misunderstood as the fundamental cause of 'modern misery'  (708)  [Marx cites a number of reformers here including Cobbett]. The practice of trade protection also played a major part in developing the modern mode of production, via protective duties or export premiums. Basically, this helped destroy the native industries of, say, Ireland. Thus, in many cases, 'The primitive industrial capital... came in part directly out of the state treasury' (708).

Thus modern industry is developed by a massive growth in state finance, and oppressive legislation, although apologists such as Eden seemed to have ignored factors such as  'the necessity of child stealing and child slavery for the transformation of manufacturing exploitation into factory exploitation, and the establishment of the "true relation" between capital and labour power' (709). The demand for labour in the new factories was often met by taking children from the parish workhouses, sometimes from the major cities miles away. Considerable cruelty was directed at the child labourers [Marx cites a number of liberal commentators here]. Public opinion was soon no longer outraged  'The nations bragged cynically of every infamy that served them as a means to capitalistic accumulation' (710). English politicians boasted about their acquisition of the slave trade after a treaty with Spain --  'Liverpool waxed fat on the slave trade. This was its method of primitive accumulation' (711). Wage slavery in Europe imitated actual slavery in the New World.

Thus the '"eternal laws of nature" of the capitalist mode of production' had to be brought into existence as a result of the processes of social polarisation. 'If money... "comes into the world with a congenital blood stain on one cheek", capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt' (712). Marx ends this chapter with a quote from a certain T.J.Dunning, writing in 1860:

'Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent, positive audacity; 100 per cent will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent, and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, not a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave trade have amply proved all that is here stated.'
Chapter XXX II Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation
This chapter rehearses all the earlier themes about how private capital has accumulated only at the expense of expropriating the labourers and taking away their rights to gain in independent living, so I will not summarise it very fully.

We do find Marx using terms such as  'mode of production' to describe the whole system of production which, for example, at the height of its pre-capitalist development  'presupposes parcelling of the soil, and scattering of the other means of production. As it excludes the concentration of these means of production, so also it excludes cooperation, division of labour within each separate process of production, the control over, and the productive application of the forces of Nature by society, and the free development of the social productive powers. It is compatible only with the system of production, and a society, moving within narrow and more or less primitive bounds' (713).

Marx holds no sentimental view of such a mode of production, and seems to imply that the 'narrowness' involved must bring forth  'new forces and new passions', which become hostile to the fetters of the old social organisation (714). The processes described above then ensue, until we get the mature development of the capitalist mode of production. In its mature mode, it works according to its own  'immanent [that is internally generated ] laws' (714). These lead to the spread of capitalism and its centralisation, as well as  'the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labour into instruments of labour only usable in common, the economising of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialised labour, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and with this, the international character of the capitalist regime' (715).

Then there follows a re-run of the 'polarization' themes of the Communist Manifesto of 1848, a text specifically referred to by Marx in a footnote [this was a surprise to me, because I had long believed that this rather simple model had been abandoned in the mature work -- but here it is]. This capitalist society will also become bound by its fetters and will lead to a new socialist stage,  'the transformation of capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialised production, into socialised property' (715). Marx seems to believe that this revolutionary transformation will be less violent and less protracted than the one he's been describing in the development of capitalism.

Chapter XXX I I I The Modern Theory of Colonisation
The process of primitive accumulation has reached its limits in Western Europe, and is now spreading to the colonies. The latter present a special situation which can't be explained using the  'notions of law and of property inherited from a pre-capitalistic world' (716). The problem is that independent producers can still be found in the colonies, and they are able to resist organised capitalism. These have to be directly denounced as antagonistic forms. Political economists turn from apology to more direct forms -- 'artificial means to ensure the poverty of the people' (717). This in fact offers a chance for political economy to discover the truth about the real history of capitalism as well [and for the rest of us too].

One specific difference is that in the colonies, ways of working that seems 'natural' break down. According to the economist Wakefield, a certain Mr Peel apparently emigrated to Australia taking with him a large sum of money and his own workforce, no doubt hoping to simply resume capitalist production in a different place. However, his work force promptly deserted him and set up on their own as independent workers! This indicates quite clearly that  'capital is not a thing, but a social relation between persons, established by the instrumentality of things' (717). It is not just enough to own capital, without the political means to exploit and dominate labourers, although this is not grasped by conventional political economists keen to explain the 'laws' affecting  'things'. The urge to independence among emigrants to the colonies is simply misunderstood as some kind of manifestation of the 'natural' urge to compete, and to accumulate capital. This in turn is used to explain the mythical origins of capitalism as a kind of social contract to allow accumulation in order for capitalism to flourish! Marx points out that you would expect to find similar examples of  'self denying fanaticism' especially in the new worlds of the colonies, but here, it seems, quite sustained and deliberate policy is needed to install capitalism --  'systematic colonisation' as it was called.

These policies include the installation of slavery to replace the unwilling labourers. There is also a need to do something about the supply of cheap or even free land, which in the colonies is seen as public property [ the rights of the original inhabitants having been dismissed in various ways, of course]. There is a need in particular to develop a class of labourers who have no choice but to labour, and an internal market to assist the early development of capitalist production. Indeed, a surplus of wage labourers has to be developed, in order to unleash the sacred laws that keep wages low according to supply and demand . As before, self-sufficiency has to be prevented.

However, in the colonies, none of these conditions apply. For example, any surplus wage-labourers still have the opportunity of becoming independent peasants or artisans -- they are no longer faced with the alternative of the workhouse. Even those that are in wage labour develop a dangerous independence and a disregard for capitalist 'laws'. For political economists like Wakefield, all this is bad news, holding back the accumulation of capital, and thus 'progress' as he sees it. No capitalist would be inclined to invest in the long term at all! Thus conditions of dependance, political and economic, must be reintroduced by artificial means.

The land in the colonies can't simply be sold off  [perhaps because an essential colonising myth is that it is  'free', not used by anybody and thus not belonging to anybody -- certainly it suited 'the Crown' to keep the issue of ownership nice and obscure and unclarified, even by the courts]. The supply of land must be regulated by an 'artificial price' (722)  [in effect a kind of tax or licence to own property]. If the land has a high price, labourers must work as labourers until they have saved enough to pay the price. Of course, setting prices is a  'violation of the sacred law of supply and demand' (723), but the revenues can be used to encourage further settlement, according to Wakefield, which renews the supply of labour lost as people become landowners and thus completes a neat circle!

The English Government tried this method for years, but it ended in fiasco, since emigrants diverted from places still under English control, such as Australia, to those that were independently governed, such as the USA. In any case, the further development of capitalism in Europe produced such huge waves of emigration that there were always sufficient wage labourers in the USA. Incidentally, the American Civil War also assisted the development of capitalism: it produced a  'colossal national debt, and, with it, pressure of taxes, the rise of the vilest financial aristocracy, the squandering of a huge part of the public land on speculative companies for the exploitation of railways, mines, etc, in brief, the most rapid centralisation of capital' (724). This in turn simply absorbed the supply of land enabling the full development of capitalist production together with a large surplus labouring population. Similar policies, involving  'The shameless lavishing of uncultivated colonial land on aristocrats and capitalists by the Government', had the same effect in Australia -- a glut in the labour market.

The colonial example reveals best  'the secret... that the capitalist mode of production and accumulation, and therefore capitalist private property, have for their fundamental condition the annihilation of self-earned private property; in other words, the expropriation of the labourer' (724).