This paper argues that capitalist social relations do not presuppose wage-labour. The paper defends a functional definition of the capitalist relations of production, in terms of what Marx calls the ’subsumption of labour by capital’. I argue that there are at least four modes of subsumption, one transitional to and one transitional from the capitalist mode of production. Unlike the capitalist mode of production, capitalist relations of production are compatible with the absence of a labour market, and even with the absence of workplace authority relations. The ambit of capitalist domination is therefore broader than typically thought.

exploitation theory, historical materialism, Marxism, value-form theory, agrarian capitalism,
Economics and Philosophy
Erasmus School of Philosophy

Vrousalis, N. (2018). Capital without Wage-Labour: Marx’s Modes of Subsumption Revisited. Economics and Philosophy, 34, 411–438. doi:10.1017/S0266267117000293