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Poverty, Labour, Development: Towards a Critique of Marx’s Conceptualisations

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines Marx's concepts of poverty, labour and development in order to do show that his analytical instruments are inadequate to the global realities. The concept of poverty remains marginal in Marx, at least to the extent that it does not converge with that of labour; where it does not abstract from specifically capitalist conditions, the labour concept refers to doubly free wage-labour, which is defined as object of exploitation on the basis of concept of value adopted from Smith and Ricardo; the concept of development refers to transformation of both outer and inner nature that is supposed to occur over period of several generations. Marx's tendency consistently to relate labour and poverty to one another reflects apposite observation: under capitalism, poverty appears primarily as labouring poverty; in other words, labour is performed primarily out of fear of immiseration and under circumstances that cannot but constantly reproduce this fear.

Keywords: capitalism; free wage-labour; Marx's conceptualisation; political development; poverty



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