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The prefix pre in “precapital,” it could be said similarly, is not a reference to what is simply chronologically prior on an ordinal, homogeneous scale of time. “Precapitalist” speaks of a particular relationship to capital marked by the tension of difference in the horizons of time. The “precapitalist,” on the basis of this argument, can only be imagined as something that exists within the temporal horizon of capital and that at the same time disrupts the continuity of this time by suggesting another time that is not on the same, secular, homogeneous calendar (which is why what is precapital is not chronologically prior to capital, that is to say, one cannot assign it to a point on the same continuous time line). This is another time that, theoretically, could be entirely immeasurable in terms of the units of the godless, spiritless time of what we call “history,” an idea already assumed in the secular concepts of “capital” and “abstract labor.”

Provincializing Europe. Postcolonial thought and historical difference
Princeton University Press 2000
p. 93
capitalisme historiographie postcolonial précapitalisme