Chapter 25: The General Law of Capitalist Accumulation

Page 784

But if a surplus population of workers is a necessary product of accumulation or of the development of wealth on a capitalist basis, this surplus population also becomes conversely, the lever of capitalist accumulation, indeed it becomes a condition for the existence of the capitalist mode of production. It forms a disposable industrial reserve army, which belongs to capital just as absolutely as if the latter had bred it at its own cost. Independently of the limits of the actual increase in population, it creates a mass of human material always ready for exploitation by capital in the interest of capital's own valorisation requirements.