According to Karl Marx, primitive accumulation is the specific mode of production that precedes the capitalistic accumulation as the origin of the capital. The idea of primitive accumulation is used to describe the mode of production in situations when the ‘right’ and ‘labor’ are the unique means to receive the capital. Thus, primitive accumulation is characteristic of feudalism because the main focus is on labor as the origin of the capital in contrast to means of the capitalist period. As a result, primitive accumulation is also the process that determines the transition from feudalism to capitalism with the help of dividing the producer and the means of production.
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Focusing on the origin of the capital, it is important to note that primitive accumulation as the mode of production is based on the role of labor and laborer in enrichment, and capitalism is based on the role of labor and money in their circulation. However, the process of dividing the producer and the means of production to lead to capitalism is rather complicated. From this perspective, Marx states that the process of primitive accumulation is different not only from capitalism because of being the pre-capitalist mode of production but also from Adam Smith’s discussion of the previous accumulation because of the alternative approach to the explanation of the origin of the capital. In this case, much attention should be paid to the idea of expropriation of the producer from the means of production as the revolutionary process. Marx notes that Smith is inclined to discuss the division of labor to lead to capitalism as the evolutionary process. However, the author insists on the revolutionary character of transforming feudalism with its primitive accumulation into capitalism.