‘The Mute Compulsion of Economic Relations’: Towards a Marxist Theory of the Abstract and Impersonal Power of Capital

In: Historical Materialism
Søren Mau Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department for Arts and Cultural Studies, University of Copenhagen Copenhagen Denmark

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According to Marx’s unfinished critique of political economy, capitalist relations of production rely on what Marx refers to in Capital as ‘the mute compulsion of economic relations’. The aim of this article is to demonstrate that this constitutes a distinct form of economic power which cannot be reduced to either ideology or violence, and to provide the conceptual groundwork for a systematic theory of capital’s mute compulsion.

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