[Marxism] Robert Brenner responds
andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Thu Dec 2 06:32:57 MST 2004
>Brenner's anti-sprout view of the emergence of capitalism makes
better sense of peasant resistance than the pro-sprout view which is
more consonant with the stagist view of history.
In the case of Holland, merchant capitalism flourished during the 17th
century, but large-scale capitalist industry and a comprehensive national
banking system only really emerged in the 1870s (later than in Britain), at
which time the industrial workforce began to exceed the agricultural
workforce for the first time - so in this case you can hardly say that
merchant capitalism led linearly to the capitalist mode of production.
The original Dutch proletariat was formed out of peasants working in
industry in the off-season, paupers, children, but also foreign workers (the
first railways and urban water pipes were laid by English workers, and the
Haarlem textile entrepreneurs began their enterprises after the 1830s with
Belgian, German and Swiss workers).
The historical delay of a Dutch industrial "take-off" had a lot to do with
international competition, especially with Britain. If there was a link
between merchant capitalism and the relatively small Dutch factories (mainly
less than 100 employees) in the first half of the 19th century, it was
mainly that many of those factories processed imported products (e.g.
tobacco, cotton, silver, sugarcane, grain, diamonds).
I've previously translated several scholarly articles on Dutch mercantile
capitalism into English. See:
Marcel van der Linden, "Marx and Engels, Dutch Marxism, and the 'Model
Capitalist Nation' of the Seventeenth Century", Science and Society (New
York), 61 (1997), pp. 161-192.
Ad Knotter "A New Theory of Merchant Capitalism?"; Jan Luiten van Zanden,
"Do We Need a Theory of Merchant Capitalism?''; and Ad Knotter, "Afterword:
Parasitory and Dynamic Elements in Merchant Capitalism", in: Review of the
Fernand Braudel Center (New York), Volume XX, Number 2, Spring 1997.
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