PCMP stressed that the concepts of modes of production developed in the text were to be regarded as means in a larger process of theoretical work and not as primary objects of theorisation in themselves. These concepts were not produced as ‘tools’ or ‘models’ for application in the practices of economic anthropology or the writing of history. Why they were developed and written as they were can be understood only by reference to prior theoretical problems and, in particular, to the problems generated by and the deficiencies of Reading Capital. It is an attempt to overcome the theoretical impasse created by the failure of Balibar’s project for a general theory of modes of production without retreating into the empiricism and pragmatism so evident in Balibar’s own ‘Self-Criticism’.
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