Haymarket Books
Books for changing the world
Labor Régime Change in the Twenty-First Century
Unfreedom, Capitalism and Primitive Accumulation
Conventional wisdom holds that Capitalism depends on the exploitation of 'free labor.' This volume challenges those ideas.
Labor Regime Change in the Twenty-First Century sets as its task to assess the validity, in light of current economic development, of the epistemology structuring different historical interpretations that see unfree labor as incompatible with capitalism. Conventional wisdom holds that—regarding the opposition between capitalism and unfreedom—an unbroken continuity links Marxism to Adam Smith, Malthus, Mill, and Max Weber. Challenging this, Brass argues that Marx accepted that, where class struggle is global, capitalist producers employ workers who are unfree.
  • "Tom Brass, one of the United Kingdom's leading Marxist scholars has written a brilliant, theoretically informed, comprehensive critique of past and present, Marxist and non-Marxist writers of capitalist labor regimes and puts forth an alternative theoretical-conceptual framework ... Brass's book is a landmark study that is especially relevant to the emergence of a new genre of development studies which will return the class struggle and the ransition to socialism into the center of theory and practice."
    —James Petras, Science and Society

    “The volume is a timely and important contribution to the literature (especially its Marxist variant) on unfree labour, with a wealth of theoretical and empirical detail, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the issue of unfreedom in contemporary labour markets…[the] concept of ‘class struggle from above’ (by capital against labour) is hugely important in our current conjuncture, when any attempts to rein in the excesses of capital are framed as ‘class warfare’ or a ‘politics of envy’”
    —Kendra Strauss, Capital and Class

Other books by Tom Brass

  • Class, Culture, and the Agrarian Myth

    Using examples from different historical contexts, this book examines the relationship between class, nationalism, modernity and the agrarian myth.