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Marx’s analysis of primitive accumulation has been frequently revisited in contemporary theoretical writing. This illogical or irrational moment of the historical presuppositions for capital’s development is a general problem of power, the problem of how an order is generated and maintained. The order appears as a perfect circle, a closed circuit with no outside, but it must have begun somewhere and somehow. Schmitt’s discussion of the formation of the modern order of nation-states, the enclosure of territory, the maintenance of their borders, and the acts that sustain this order itself can be effectively cross-read with Marx’s discussion in terms of...

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