The time of globalization: Rethinking primitive accumulation

Tony C. Brown

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13 Scopus citations


This essay addresses the question, What are the politics of time in relation to globalization? Suggesting that the debates on globalization have forced a conceptual foreclosure of time, the article argues, first, that now more than ever we must attend to capitalism’s temporal aspect, and, second, that doing so will enable us to grasp the action of capitalism’s constitutive violence. The terms by which to comprehend time’s role in globalization are then shown to be available in Marx’s account of so-called primitive accumulation. Through an attentive reading of Marx on primitive accumulation, the article aims to elaborate the theoretical means to move beyond time’s foreclosure and recognize the eventlike violence that remains at the heart of contemporary globalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-584
Number of pages14
JournalRethinking Marxism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Globalization
  • Imperialism
  • Primitive Accumulation
  • Temporality
  • Time


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