[Marxism] Fwd: Town and Tawney | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jan 27 09:40:43 MST 2016

As a follow-up to my articles on formal/real subsumption, I decided to 
reread Maurice Dobb’s “Studies in the Development of Capitalism”, an 
economic history of England that I remembered as a useful review of 
class relations both in the city and countryside. Despite the tendency 
to associate Robert Brenner with Dobb because both were involved with 
debates with Paul Sweezy, there is little doubt that Dobb was a lot 
closer to Sweezy. Indeed, Brenner wrote an article in 1978 titled “Dobb 
on the transition from feudalism to capitalism” that faulted him for 
giving too much credit to the towns.

For Brenner, Marxists—including Sweezy and Dobb—have overemphasized 
trade, particularly between England and other nations. Naturally such 
trade was what drove the growth of town and city, especially London, 
since the import of spices, silk, precious metals etc. were key to the 
handicrafts that emerged under feudalism and became the foundation for 
formal subsumption. If such goods could be purchased cheaply and through 
monopoly power, an accumulation of mercantile capital was the logical 
outcome—that, at least, was the argument.

full: http://louisproyect.org/2016/01/27/town-and-tawney/

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