Chumps at Oxford

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 12 13:26:56 MDT 1999

Jim Farmelant:
>behing the transition to capitalism.  Anderson follows
>Sweezy and Wallerstein in emphasizing the omportance
>of towns and international trade but their influence was
>seen as not as external to feudalism as such but as
>rather representing a legacy of the classical civilization
>of the ancient Greeks and Romans.

>From Perry Anderson's review of Brenner's "Merchants and Revolution" in the
Nov. 4, 1993 London Review of Books:

"For all the power of this case (Brenner's thesis), there were always
difficulties with its overall context. The idea of capitalism in one
country, take literally, is only a bit more plausible than that of
socialism. For Marx the different moments of of the modern biography of
capital were distributed in a cumulative sequence, from the Italian cities
to the towns of Flanders and Holland, to the empires of Portugal or Spain
and the ports of France, before being 'systematically combined in England
at the end of the 17th century'. Historically it makes better sense to view
the emergence of capitalism as a value-added process gaining in complexity
as it moved along a chain of inter-related sites. In this story, the role
of cities was always central. English landowners could never have started
their conversion to commercial agriculture without the market for wool in
Flemish towns--just as Dutch farming was by Stuart times in advance of
English, not least because it was conjoined to a richer urban society."

Louis Proyect

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