Uneven Developments: From The Grundrisse To Capital
Since its publication, Marxists have debated the relation between the Grundrisse and the first volume of Capital. This paper offers one entry point into this debate by comparing the way each text frames its “problematic of uneven development”, that is, the way that capitalism's inherently uneven development is thematized as a problem for explanation. In the Grundrisse the uneven nature of capitalism as development is explained by the emergence of capitalism from precapitalist relations. While this analysis is not entirely absent from Capital (cf the discussion of primitive accumulation), precapitalist formations are not treated as systematically in Capital. By contrast, uneven development enters Capital in the final section, particularly where Marx criticizes Wakefield. Reading these two texts together, I argue that the problematic of uneven development shifts from Grundrisse to Capital in a way that underscores Marx's growing stress on capital's imperial character. This shift has its roots in political events of the period when Marx rewrote Grundrisse into Capital.