Inikori vs. Brenner

Richard Harris rhh1 at
Fri Sep 12 13:59:28 MDT 2003

> Now if Brenner's agrarian class
> structure were the principal cause of the Industrial Revolution,
> clearly the leading regions would have been in the South of England.
> But, as we have seen, it was agriculturally backward Lancashire and
> Yorkshire that led the way, while East Anglia with its progressive
> agrarian class structure stagnated."
> p. 147-8 of Africans and the Industrial Revolution in England.
> Any comments on this important debate much appreciated.
> Rakesh

This is a very good question.  I will attempt, over the weekend, to find
some literature on this.

But we must recall the following.

England is very small.  Ironbridge Gorge is 100 miles from the wheat-lands
of East Anglia.  It's not another planet.  I've not been able to find out
much, this evening, on who exactly financed early industrial expansion or
from where the workers appeared..  The first canal, the Bridgewater canal in
Cheshire, was funded by the Duke of Bridgewater who was a mine owner.  But
that has always seemed to me (in ignorance of the evidence) to be the point,
that the large landowners in England were those who financed the industrial
revolution.  The key issue is were there wage workers to go to the
factories?  That seems to be the significance of Brenner's appreciation of
the significance of the breakdown of feudal holdings in parts of England
(and Ireland which was ravaged by English landlords.)  Marx's concept of
capital requires, not just money (Smith had got that far) but a working
class.  Where did they come from?

But my hazy memory / impression of these things needs to be tested against
the evidence.  I'll get back.


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