The extent of trade is the index of capitalist development, which arises from the growth of commercial activ ity and the 'primitive accumulation' that follows from it. Nothing more is required, then, to explain the 'rise of capitalism' than an account of how the many obstacles to its forward movement have been lifted sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, with revolutionary violence. Capitalism emerged in the comparatively backward English countryside, not the towns or cities where commerce reigned. As a Marxist, she's not trying to sell the idea that it was capitalism's awesome productive capabilities that may saved Europe from an economic and civilizational collapse, and raised the standards of living throughout the world in an awesome and incredible way. Brenner set out to explain why and how this carne to be so; how producers were deprived of non-market access to the means of their self-reproduction and even to land itself; how landlordly forms of exploitation were transformed from 'extra-economic' surplus extraction to the appropriation · of capitalist rents; how it carne about that both landlords and tenants were compelled and enabled to move in response to the imperatives of competition; how new forms of appropriation established new compulsions; and how those compulsions conditioned the differentiation - and in large part the dispossession - of the peasantry. Wood argues rather that capitalism did not come about until a set of unique historical circumstances compelled people to. The whole system, indeed, was based on the fragmenta tion of markets, detachment of one market from another, the distance between sites of production and sites of consumption, the geographic separation of supply and demand.
The growth of London, in other words, in all kinds of ways stands for England's emerging capitalism: its increasingly single, unified, integrated, and competitive market; its productive agriculture; and its dispossessed population. Brenner's explanation of the differentiation of the English peasantry the 'rise of the yeoman' , which eventually ended in a polarization between capitalist farmers and propertyless labourers, has to do with the new economic logic that subjected English farmers to the imperatives of competition in unprecedented ways and degrees. Rather than being driven by the commercial accumulation of wealth, or by technological change, capitalism grows out of the relations of production in the countryside where the development of changed relations between aristocratic landlord and tenant farmer imposes the imperatives of the market on both producers and appropriators. Capitalism seems this way looks sort of cancerous, but the advantage to this view is Wood carefully shows how it is impossible for capitalism to be equitable or sustainable because it of the imperatives built into it, however it is possible for people to resist capitalism and find weak spots in it, which would seem to be the most sensible course. The second section book more clearly lays out this option while Wood acknowledges her intellectual dependence on E. In our exploration of the relation between capitalism and the city, and our critical examination of the 'commercialization model' of capitalist development, we can learn a great deal by scrutinizing the different ways in which the trade in food has figured in the larger economic scheme of things. It can and must constantly accumulate, constantly search out new markets, constantly impose its imperatives on new territories and new spheres of life, on all human beings and the natural environment.
That difference, and the reasons for it, are precisely what Brenner has sought to explain. Central to these conventional accounts of history are certain assumptions, explicit or implicit, about human nature and about will behave, if only given the chance. This is the narrative at least implicit in traditional Marxist ideas of 'bourgeois revolution' For Marx's truly distinctive 'Marxist' approach, we have to look to his critique of political economy, in the Gnllldrisse and Capital. The province o f Holland in particular depended on the profit ability of conunerce and therefore was especially affected by the incursions of French mercantilism in the late seventeenth century, its interference with Dutch ships, and its prohibitive tariffi. Still, it's well worth the effort. Many features of the Enlightenment, in other words, are rooted in non-capitalist social property relations. Proponents of the innovation economy predict that exponential growth of capitalist economies is not only feasible, but probable Schramm et al.
Anderson is commenting here on Brermer's account of capitalism as, in the first instance, a specifically English phemonenon: The idea of capitalism in one country, taken literally, is only a bit more plausible than that of socialism. In calculating the value of the acre in America, for instance, he talks not about the Indian's expenditure of effort, labour, but about the Indian's failure to realize a profit. The second, related point is that h e sees a transforma tion in what appears to be a fundamental continuity: even workers who, on the face of it, seem hardly different from their artisanal predecessors, and whose oppositional culture is still deeply rooted in old pre-industrial popular and radical traditions, are, for Thompson, a 'fresh race of beings', a new kind of proletariat. More particularly, such arguments tend to reinforce the deeply Eurocentric view that the absence of capitalism is somehow a historic failure a rather counterproductive line of thought for clities of capitalism. History's journey to that final destination, to 'commercial society' or capitalism, has, to be sure, been long and arduous, and many obstacles have stood in its way. All that was needed was a quantita tive growth, and the accumulation of wealth that came with it, which occurred almost inevitably with the passage of time in some versions, of course, helped along, but not originally caused, by the 'Protestant ethic'. It is worth noting, too, that while the integrated national market - which Polanyi described as the fust kind of market to operate on competitive principles - developed in England quite early, France had to await the Napoleonic era to remove internal barriers to trade.
The operative principle in his argument is compulsion or imperative, not opportunity. Without its leading role in international trade, and without the great wealth derived from Europe's growing luxury markets, the Dutch could not have developed either their huge urban population or, indeed, their productive agriculture. Without such interventions, 'the rate of that progress might have been ruinous, and have turned the process itself into a degenerative instead of a constructive event', just as the Industrial Revolution itself required state intervention to preserve the social fabric. London, b ecoming disproportionately large in relation to other English towns and to the total population of England and eventually the largest city in Europe , was also becoming the hub of a developing national market. In this way, the power that capitalism inherently bestows to the consumer drives a force for innovation. For her, Capitalism began in England when rent for farms became a market, something which had never happened in recorded history.
In much the same way that the old Eurocentric arguments took capitalism for granted, this one too avoids explaining the origin of this specific social form - or, to be more precise, denies its specificity and hence evades the question of its origin - by assuming its prior existence sometimes called 'proto-capitalism', not to mention even earlier fonus of trade and mercantile activity. Once we recognize just how distinctive these social relations and processes are, how different they are from the social forms that have dominated most of human history, it becomes clear that more is required to explain the emergence of this distinctive social form than the question-begging assumption that it has always existed in embryo, just needing to be liberated from unnatural constraints. The crisis of French feudalism was resolved by a different kind of state formation. In this way, he opened the way for a thorough reassessment of the bourgeoisie and its role in the rise of capital ism. The Origin of Capitalism identifies and breaks apart one or two chief theories for how capitalism came about and attacks them for their circularity and question-begging, showing how the transition from commerce to capitalism was not, by any means, a foregone conclusion but was the result of a specific change in property relationships with a specific beginning.
Could have had a bit more detail even within this length and a bit less repetition. This led to a cascade of effects whereby successful tenant farmers became agrarian capitalists; unsuccessful ones became wage-labourers, required to sell their labour in order to live; and landlords promoted the privatisation and renting out of common land, not least through the. The operation of these laws can, at least temporarily, be thwarted, but not without great cost. Really important and valuable explanation of how capitalism wasn't a natural and necessary culmination earlier commercial economic practice everywhere but instead a historical consequence of specific practices in England at a specific time, leading to developments in England that then spread elsewhere. And a whole lot more.
The charge that he has undermined his own original thesis simply replicates the circular and question-begging logic that that thesis was designed to correct. If it is the former, then capitalism does seem natural as markets between societies for certain goods have existed in almost all societies. In most accounts of capitalism and its origin, there really origin. It is worth dwelling for a moment on this concept of improve ment, because it tells us a great deal about English agriculture and the development of capitalism. These do not depend on transforming production, nor do they promote the develop ment of the kind of integrated market that imposes competitive imperatives. Some might call these early forms 'proto-capitalism', but few would say that the capitalist system existed in earnest before the sixteenth or seventeenth century, and some would place it as late as the eighteenth, or perhaps even the nineteenth, when it matured into its industrial form. The dispossessed ended up in the cities, especially London, which grew to become the first mass market for cheap consumer goods.
He is certainly not a theorist of a mature, industrial capitalism. It seems odd that reasonable people who have little trouble accepting that there are certain basic human needs - such as health care or education - that are best met by public services and not by profit-making enterprises regard it as unreasonable to demand cheap access to the most irreducible necessity, food. Thompson situates the transforming experience of the English working class, the process in which a new proletariat and a new working-class culture were forged, in the period 1 790-1 8 3 2. To stabilize its constitutive social relations — between capital and labour or capital and other capitals — capitalism is especially reliant on legally defined and politically authorized regularities. That assumption is typically connected with the other presupposition: ·that history has been an almost natural process of technological development. The first is an excellent overview of the various models for the origins of capitalism including most of the figures around the various liberal models, the world-systems quasi-Marxist answers, and the key figures on the transition debate Paul Sweezy, Christopher Hill, Eric Hobsbawm, Georges Lefebvre, and Kohachiro Takahashi as well as the Brenner Debates on Agrarian capitalism. This was not so much a case in which agricultural productivity sustained an unusually large urban population as would occur in England but rather a case in which an unusually large urban population sustained by a dominant role in international trade, as a major link in the European commercial chain, also provided the conditions for a productive agriculture.