While working on the final draft of Das Kapital Volume I, Marx discovered that the assumption that he had previously held: as it circulated capital extended its sphere of operation and at the same time absorbed earlier forms of economic organization was not supported by empirical evidence. From 1869 he began to study how in fact capital began to circulate in Russia, a country which had begun to create a capitalist economy after the liberation of the peasantry in 1861. Marx was aided in this project by Nikolai Danielson, who sent him materials on the Russian economy and who himself made a study of contemporary trends in Russian economic development. Marx contributed to the article Danielson published in 1880 on this subject. One of the works Marx acquired was the book by Vorontsov, who concurred with Danielson that only some features of capitalism were present in the Russian economy and that peasants were dispossessed without being re-deployed in capitalist enterprises. Marx died without incorporating his Russian material into the second volume of Das Kapital. Engels failed to see any problem with the circulation of capital and published the manuscripts as he found them, dispersing Marx’s Russian materials. Unlike Danielson, Engels was convinced that Russia’s economic development did not differ in any way from that of Western Europe, a conviction shared by Plekhanov and Lenin, who classed Danielson and Vorontsov as “narodniki.” Lenin’s book The Development of Capitalism in Russia is a polemic against Danielson and Vorontsov, but does not directly address the points they made.
I am grateful to Paul Zarembka for suggesting this subject to me.
White, J.D. (2019), "The Development of Capitalism in Russia in the Works of Marx, Danielson, Vorontsov, and Lenin", Class History and Class Practices in the Periphery of Capitalism (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 34), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 3-31. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0161-723020190000034003
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