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By Henry Heller

In the sunshine of the deepening obstacle of capitalism and persisted non-Western capitalist accumulation, Henry Heller re-examines the debates surrounding the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Europe and elsewhere.

Focusing on arguments in regards to the beginning, nature and sustainability of capitalism, Heller bargains a brand new studying of the old proof and a serious interrogation of the transition debate. He advances the concept that capitalism needs to be understood as a political in addition to an financial entity. This publication breathes new lifestyles into the scholarship, taking factor with the excessively economistic procedure of Robert Brenner, which has won expanding help over the past ten years. It concludes that the way forward for capitalism is extra threatened than ever before.

The new insights during this ebook make it crucial analyzing for engaged scholars and students of political economic climate and history.

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Sample text

Indeed, we shall argue that while exchange helps to maintain feudal relations of production, once capitalist relations are in place it is indispensable to the realization process. Uneven Development Takahashi had pointed to the need to broaden the discussion on feudalism to include Continental Europe and Japan. This was part of a general trend in Marxism to extend the concept of feudalism in analyzing non-European pre-capitalist societies, rather than employing the problematical and Eurocentric concepts of communal and Asiatic modes of production.

Despite its feudal framework the early modern state provided an essential container for the emergence of capitalism. Dobb and Brenner’s views of the transition are the focal points of this chapter. Yet their viewpoint is marred by an unfortunate economism and in the latter’s case a class determinism. In response we use the work of Hobsbawm, Anderson and Harman to provide a more dialectical view of the transition from feudalism. Hobsbawm’s sense of unequal development, Anderson’s view of the dual class character of the emerging territorial state and Harman’s notion of social class as defined economically but also culturally and politically help to provide this more dialectical sense.

They engulfed the Shogunate in the last decades of its existence. Popular and proto-capitalist revolt proved essential to catalyzing a modernizing political elite to dismantle the institutions of the feudal regime while preserving the essence of landlord power over the peasantry. 58 Decentralized military power was broken but landlords continued to control their tenants socially and economically. The political and economic freedom of the bulk of producers remained fundamentally constrained. As a consequence it was the state rather than the petty producers that was to take the lead in capitalist development.

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