Brenner, Wood, Perelman and Bhandari

Richard Harris rhh1 at
Wed Sep 10 02:52:45 MDT 2003

I had just written a reply to Louis's post in which he stated his
understanding of the Brenner thesis, then I read the below:

> From: Michael Perelman <michael at>
> Subject: Re: Portrait of a Radical Republican
> I do not understand the importance of the either/or approach to the
> Brenner thesis.  Britain exploited its own people within the market, just
> as Brenner says.  Britain profited from imperialism and forced labor.  In
> addition, one could see the cheap labor supply of Irish workers within
> Britain as either part of the market or as the result of imperialism.
> Shouldn't the question be to understand the interplay between the two
> blades of the scissors?
I could not have said it better myself (I couldn't!)

'Interplay' means NOT either / or, but both in some sense.

And RB says exactly what I had written (but neater):
> Louis,
> Not true. As Ellen Wood has clarified, Brenner thesis focuses on the
> landlord-capitalist tenant relation as it evolved in England. Ellen
> Wood has allowed for servants in husbandry to be capital positing
> workers despite the extra economic coercion to which they were
> subject.  Moreover, Brenner thesis does not deny importance of
> slavery. As Wood and DMS have often emphasized the English merchant
> fortunes built on the basis of the New World plantations (England's
> and others') could only be invested as capital (rather than
> dissipated as revenue) as a result of the internal changes in
> England.

Marxmail is still a good place to get an education.


Richard Harris
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