The birth of bourgeois society



The possession of important amounts of “capital” by a differentiated and minority sector of society, whatever its previous social origin, gradually changed the economic and social coordinates

Bourgeois society was projected from the success, national, continental and, finally, worldwide, of one of the original accumulation processes of capital, the one located specifically in England. The secret of original capitalist accumulation consisted in the fact that “money and merchandise are not capital from the outset, any more than are the means of production and subsistence. They require to be transformed into capital.

But this transformation could only take place under coincidental circumstances: it was necessary for two very different classes of commodity owners to come into contact with each other; on the one hand, the owners of money, means of production and subsistence, who are responsible for valuing, through the acquisition of someone else's labor power, the sum of value which they have appropriated; on the other hand, free workers, sellers of their own labor power and, therefore, sellers of labor”.[I] The original accumulation of capital was the birth of capitalist society at the same time as a process of dissolution of pre-capitalist relations of production, which conditioned and fed each other.

The paths to the dissolution of the Old Regime and the emergence of a new mode of production were traced through the ruin and compulsory expropriation of peasants and artisans, creating a free labor force, and through the accumulation of wealth and means of production by a new class. , which began to be called “bourgeoisie”, a name derived from the medieval Latin burgensis, associated with the late Latin term burg, and on the Germanic root burg-baurgsou, which designated the small towns that emerged with the revival of commercial activity at the end of the Middle Ages.

The possession of important amounts of “capital” by a differentiated and minority sector of society, whatever its previous social origin, gradually changed the economic and social coordinates. The transition to a new social regime was, however, first and foremost a process of dissolution of the old society: “The long crisis of the European economy and society during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries marked the difficulties and limits of the mode of production feudalism in the late Middle Ages.[ii]

It was from England, where this process advanced most rapidly, that the new economic trends spread to other European countries, and from Europe that they spread to the whole world. For this, it was necessary that the primitive capitalist accumulation, based on violence, organized by the State, theft, commercial deceit and usurious finance, be transformed into full capitalist accumulation, based on the universal exchange of equivalent values ​​and on the accumulation and enlarged reproduction of capital. Original accumulation had to give way to the “civilized” trade in commodities, including commodified labor power; commercial accumulation thus paved the way for properly capitalist accumulation, based on bourgeois ownership of the means of production on which social life was increasingly based.

The transition to a new society went through several stages. The first bourgeoisie, who rebelled against the Church in the cities in the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, did not decisively alter the mode of production, as they still subscribed to the parameters of reproduction of the feudal system: “The situation of the merchant, uniting poles of production and consumption, determined his social conscience, given by his interest in maintaining the pre-capitalist conditions on which he based his profit, given by the role of prestige goods in manorial consumption, by the corporatist regime of artisanal production in guilds, by the fractioning of political sovereignty and by commercial monopoly.[iii]

The commercial capital of the High Middle Ages sought to participate in a part of the feudal income, operating from the unequal exchange between regions and productive sectors. Its bases of operation were located on the outskirts of the towns, which they gradually penetrated, without replacing feudal relations. Although with a slowly deleterious effect from feudalism, mercantile development based on “buying cheap and selling dear” denounces its indirect relationship with the productive process, that is, not a source of permanent capital accumulation.[iv]

The fights for urban autonomies against the ecclesiastical authorities gave rise to a wide repertoire of movements, which brought them closer to religious heresies. Things changed in successive centuries. After an economic retreat in Europe in the XNUMXth century, commercial recovery experienced a leap from the XNUMXth century onwards. In the previous century, the destructive Black Death and similar catastrophes were a dynamic factor in the economy and mercantile relations, presided over by a reordering of property relations: “Because of deaths, assets without heirs and the questioning of ownership of houses and lands , there was a wave of litigation, made chaotic by the shortage of notaries. Abusive occupiers, or the Church, appropriated property without a landlord. Fraud and extortion practiced on orphans by their legal guardians turned into a scandal”.

This catastrophe was the product of new economic relations and exchanges. The plague entered Europe via Sicily in 1347, brought by Genoese merchants fleeing a siege by Hungarian-Mongol troops (carriers of the disease) in Crimea, quickly eliminating half the population of the Italian island. It spread across Northern Italy in 1348, when it also reached North Africa. At the end of that year, the plague reached France and the Iberian countries.

In 1349, progressing at the rate of ten kilometers a day, the plague reached Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and England: “Numerous cities adopted strict quarantine measures. (Some cities) prohibited all their citizens who were visiting or on business in affected cities to return home, and the importation of wool and linen was also banned”.[v]

The plague wiped out between a quarter and a half of Europe's population, between 25 and 40 million people. Its main economic consequence was that approximately half of European agricultural workers died, changing the structure of the labor market: “The survivors saw a large increase in their wages, as they now had the possibility to haggle over services with the inhabitants of the cities, who needed desperately on the food that only serfs produced… The disease killed people but did not damage property. Everything the dead had owned now belonged to others. The survivors' new wealth launched them into one of the greatest spending rages in history. The last 25 years of the XNUMXth century were a time of prosperity. The excessive consumerism was fueled by the relaxation of morals that followed the epidemic. When we are surrounded by death, it is not easy to impose rules on family, neighbors, or subjects.”[vi]

Whoever says consumption says trade, therefore currency and therefore precious metals. At this stage, capitalism was still identified with commercial capital, dominant in Europe from the fourteenth century until at least the beginning of the eighteenth century, a period in which the European merchant bourgeoisie systematically began to seek wealth, mainly gold and silver, outside Europe. The great merchants were looking for gold, silver, spices and raw materials not found on European soil: financed by kings, nobles and bankers, they began a cycle of exploration whose main objective was enrichment through the accumulation of capital, the pursuit of profits growing commercials; for this, there was an increasing use of salaried labor, with money-currency replacing the old system of exchanges, banking and financial relations, strengthening the economic power of the bourgeoisie.

It was in the XNUMXth century that the process of primitive accumulation of capital accelerated in England, where there was legislation that froze the value of the lands of the nobility: the nobility weakened economically, since the price of what they consumed rose, while their income remained the same . Thus, between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, the urban movements of revolt continued, now led by wealthy sectors that tried to obtain a place to participate in the government of the cities. Alongside these struggles, social upheavals of a different nature emerged which, for the first time, questioned the dominant feudalism. They were led by primitive entrepreneurs and were parallel to the great peasant struggles.

The victorious takeoff of the new mode of production took place in the second half of the 1500th century and the beginning of the 1530th century, primarily in England and the Netherlands. Frédéric Mauro distinguished three “ages” in the 1530th century. In the first (1560-XNUMX) the Portuguese took over the spice market, and the Mediterranean, dominated by the Turks, gave way to the Atlantic. In the second (XNUMX-XNUMX) shipments of silver from the Americas began to arrive, and Charles V tried to save the unity of Christendom: “(He) was the emperor of the last days, the one to whom the Most High had given the mission of establishing the universal domination of the Church, opening the way to the end of time, which would see the glorious return of Christ”.[vii]

Overcoming (temporarily) this millenarian mirage, the third epoch, extended until the end of the century, witnessed major crises (abdication of the Emperor, financial crises, sinking of Lyon, Toulouse, Antwerp) and religious wars, but also the reinvigoration of silver exports of Peru and Mexico, as well as a “pre-industrial revolution” in England. The new mode of production recognized its first steps in Italy, where “the existence of capitalist enterprises, particularly in the wool industry, was recorded at the beginning of the 1509th century, and even in the 1547th and XNUMXth centuries. In England, from the reign of Henry VII [XNUMX-XNUMX] some wealthy textile manufacturers played in the North and West counties a role similar to that of contemporary manufacturers... There has been, in England, since Tudor times, a spontaneous development of capitalism industrial, already potent enough to make one fear that small production would be absorbed or destroyed”.[viii]

The first “industrial outbreaks” were located in Italy, in Flanders, but also in England: “The third region in which the medieval textile industry flourished was England. Slowly, England got rid of its 'colonial status' as a producer of raw materials, becoming an industrialized country that supplied clothing to large areas of Europe and even parts of Africa and Asia. (There was) an overwhelming predominance of English cloths in European markets from the year 1350”.[ix] Through a slow process, with still medieval roots, that in the south of England, the progressive "gentry", the gentry,[X] did not embark on the old manorial parasitism and began to dedicate itself to the production of wool for the new and auspicious fabric industry aimed at the internal and external market, which was at the root of the land enclosures, enclosures, to guarantee land for the growing herds that supply the industry's raw material.

In the words of Marx, “the new nobility was the child of its time, for which money was the power of all powers. Transforming arable land into pasture for raising sheep was their slogan.” He was not short of reasons: “Enclosures facilitated innovation and changes in land use because the constraints imposed by common property rights, land dispersion and collective decision-making could be overcome. Contemporaries were virtually unanimous in asserting that closed camps offered more opportunities to earn money than common [open] camps”.[xi]

Transformations in property relations were thus made possible by agrarian enclosures and by the growth of peasant production, caused by the exploitation of available land through more intensive cultivation methods. The formation of a capitalist bourgeoisie with national presence and dimensions demanded additional conditions. The intertwining of the economic interests of the Southern nobility with the manufacturing and commercial bourgeoisie of the North was due to the bourgeois origin of the fraction that had entered the gentleman through the purchase of confiscated lands and titles of nobility.

The agrarian enclosures of the XNUMXth century were accompanied by the spread of textile manufacturing in the countryside, far from the obstacles to its expansion inherent in the rigid rules of craft corporations in the cities. Thus flourished the domestic manufacturing system, putting-ot system, with the merchant distributing the primitive fabric and spinning machines among peasants and inhabitants of the towns, later “harvesting” the production.

In England, in addition to this, the availability and possibility of a profitable exploitation of monetary capital coincided with a state impetus for the larger scale use of innovations and technical discoveries. English commercial capital, the great protagonist of this process, originated less in the growth of external demand and in trade with the first colonies, than in the expansion of internal trade, “a demand whose satisfaction only depended on internal production, a national market linked to to a certain product susceptible of providing high profits to easily affordable uses”.[xii] At the same time, during the 1534th century, between the foundation of the colony of Virginia (1600) and the creation of the East India Commercial Company (1588), passing through the defeat inflicted on the Spanish Armada (XNUMX), England laid the foundations of its colonial empire and its world domination.

The Netherlands, in turn, became a maritime and commercial crossroads with continental reach after the sack of the Belgian port of Anvers by the Spaniards. Anvers (Antwerp) was not only an important port: the city was, at the time, one of the centers of European economic life. It was the main sales center for works of art on the continent and, along with Venice, the cradle of modern journalism and criticism (the work of Erasmus of Rotterdam flourished in that city).

In November 1576, Spanish troops attacked Antwerp, inflicting a three-day massacre on the city's population. The savagery of the sack led the seventeen provinces of the Netherlands to unite against the Spanish crown, which would result in a victorious war for their independence. Seven thousand lives and a great deal of property were lost in the looting. Cruelty and plunder became known as the “Spanish fury”.[xiii] As a result of the destruction of Antwerp, Amsterdam became the new “shop of Europe”, with the creation of the first merchandise and stock exchanges, located at a short distance from each other, to facilitate transactions.

The Antwerp Stock Exchange was created in 1531; in neighboring France there were bags and goods in Lyon (1548), Toulouse (1549), Rouen (1556, Bordeaux (1571). In London, Thomas Griesham, established in Antwerp from 1551, and responsible for the currency exchange of Queen Elizabeth of England, founded in 1564 the Royal exchange, whose building was completed in 1571, “finally allowing economic operators to no longer carry out their business in the open, an unfavorable situation in a country noted for fog and rain”.[xiv]

The period between the 1500th and 1770th centuries was called the “era of mercantilism”, a concept associated with the worldwide geographical exploration of the “Age of Discoveries” and the exploration of new territories by merchants, especially from England and the Netherlands; also with the European colonization of the coasts of Africa and the Americas and with the rapid growth in the foreign trade of European countries. André Gunder Frank distinguished three periods of capitalism: the mercantilist (1770-1870), the industrial capitalist (1870-1930) and the imperialist (XNUMX-XNUMX).

Mercantilism was “a number of economic theories applied by the state at one time or another in an effort to acquire wealth and power. Spain was the richest and most powerful country in the world in the XNUMXth century. The explanation for this lay in the exploitation of gold and silver”.[xv] It was a system based on the defense of profit-making trade, although goods were still produced based on a non-capitalist mode of production; O bullying stressed the importance of accumulating precious metals. The term derives from the English bullion: gold in small ingots; also called metalism, by the economic theory that quantified and hierarchized wealth through the amount of precious metals owned.

Mercantilist politicians argued that the state should export more goods than it imported, so that foreign countries would have to pay the difference in precious metals: only raw materials that could not be extracted at home should be imported. Mercantilism promoted subsidies and the concession of commercial monopolies to groups of entrepreneurs, as well as protective tariffs, to encourage the national production of manufactured goods.

European businessmen, supported by state controls, subsidies, and monopolies, made most of their profits from buying and selling goods. According to Francis Bacon, a central figure of the time as a politician (he became Chancellor of England), empiricist philosopher, scientist, and essayist, the aim of mercantilism was “the opening and balance of trade, the appreciation of manufacturers, the banishment of idleness, the repression of waste and lawlessness, the improvement and management of the soil; price regulation.[xvi] During this period, the state replaced local corporations as the regulator of the economy.

Heckscher summarized mercantilism by defining it as “a complex of economic phenomena (derived from) the appearance and consolidation of States that emerged on the ruins of the Roman universal monarchy, delimited territorially and in terms of their influence, although sovereign within their borders. Concern for the state stands at the center of mercantilist tendencies as they have historically developed; the State is both the subject and the object of mercantilist economic policy”.[xvii] Mercantilism was, therefore, an instrument of the State, not the other way around.

Joseph Schumpeter reduced mercantilist propositions to three main concerns: exchange control, export monopoly and trade balance. In the most important European kingdoms, mercantilism became dominant: it was less a doctrine than a policy, based on the imperative of accumulating foreign currency in precious metals by the coffers of the kingdoms, through foreign trade of a protectionist nature, with results profitable for trade balances, which presupposed a constant and sustained development of this trade. Proposing a strict and planned regulation of the national economy for its transactions abroad, mercantilism, simultaneously, fought for the freedom of internal trade in the sense of eliminating the regional particularisms that hindered the internal transit of goods.[xviii]

The mercantilist policy did not seek gold for gold's sake, but as a means of strengthening the national economy and, through a favorable balance of trade and payments, stimulating industrial development that would allow the export of manufactured products and the purchase of raw materials that would feed back the local industry. According to a French liberal economist of the XNUMXth century, with “Colbertism” (synonymous rooster of mercantilism),[xx] in France “you could see the rise of factories everywhere; the high price of their products yielded great benefits to the heads of industry, and multiplied their capital by accumulation (provoking the) absolute submission of workers to the capitalists and the growth of individual misery in the face of general wealth”.[xx]

Mercantilism was a milestone in the economic and political rise of the European bourgeoisie. For Pierre Deyon, it was the set of economic intervention practices that developed in Europe since the mid-XNUMXth century, prefiguring autarkic nationalism and state interventionism.[xxx] Maurice Dobb defined mercantilism as the economic policy of an era of primitive capitalist accumulation, characterizing the set of ideas and economic practices of European states during the period between the XNUMXth/XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries.

Important exchange of goods, markets, technological progress, existed before capitalism, and were as developed or more than in Europe in other parts of the world. Modern capitalism expanded, however, in sixteenth-century Europe, starting from a country that was neither especially rich nor densely populated, England. Its beginnings were located in the countryside, specifically in the changes in social property relations and the loss of political power of the nobility, which led to a new type of market.

Markets have existed almost forever, but pre-capitalist markets did not depend on extracting surplus value from producers: they depended on the movement of goods, especially luxury goods, from one region to another. In Europe, they offered enrichment opportunities for Dutch or Florentine merchants; did not, however, drive any or almost no increase in productivity, not conditioning production. English economic development created a new type of market, which spread throughout the country.

English agrarian capital was the creator of modern landed property, responsible for promoting the dissolution of relations of honor, tradition and personal bond with the land, typical of feudalism, replaced by mere economic interest and transforming it into merchandise. Economic interest in land occurs when it is possible to earn land rent. It was in sixteenth-century England that a market began to emerge that inexorably imposed an increase in land productivity. In that country, land ownership was in the hands of great lords, who rented it to sharecroppers and partners.

The political power of the nobility had diminished, to the benefit of the monarchy, which prevented landlords from extracting new benefits from exploiting peasants by force or by imposing taxes. Land ownership, however, still gave them economic power. Traditional fixed rents were being replaced by rents determined by the market, based on what peasants could pay, or what they could pay by improving their productivity.

These new relations between lords and peasants created a unique situation in England. The economic-social formation of Portugal, based on sesmarias, for example, was not typically feudal, as its roots were not linked to an archaic past or a result of servile relationships. The Crown concentrated a large part of the land and granted its domain conditional on use, without, however, opening gaps for the process of creating modern territorial property as a prerequisite for the formation of a free labor market.

In England, on the other hand, the usurpation of land was conducted by the landed nobility, supported by the capitalists, who aimed to transform the land into a commodity, making it possible to expand the area of ​​agricultural exploitation and intensify the process of proletarianization of the peasants. In that country, land concentration was legitimized by the State; the Crown was responsible for the alienation of state lands to private individuals. The process of expropriation of peasants and land concentration was sanctioned using the law and the force and violence of the State.

Primitive capital accumulation in England developed from two linked assumptions: the concentration of a large amount of resources (mainly money and land) in the hands of a small section of society; and the formation of a contingent of individuals who were compulsorily dispossessed of communally owned land (through dispossession and enclosures, carried out by the alliance of the bourgeoisie with the gentleman and with the English absolutist state) who, therefore, were forced to sell their labor power to survive.

The realization of these conditions had nothing of automatism or economic rationalization: “Classical political economists were unwilling to rely on market forces to determine the social division of labor because they found the tenacity of traditional rural producers to be very unpleasant. Rather than advocating that market forces should determine the fate of these producers, classical political economy called for state interventions to undermine these people's ability to produce in response to their own needs. His recommendations amounted to a flagrant manipulation of the social division of labor. We cannot justify such policies in terms of efficiency. If efficiency were of great importance to them, classical economists would not have ignored the law that allowed nobles to traverse small farmers' fields in pursuit of foxes, while forbidding farmers to rid their lands of wild fauna capable of eating the crops. . These laws destroyed a huge portion of agricultural production”.[xxiii]

Wealth devoid of noble origin had several sources. The formation of the bourgeois pole of English society was possible thanks to the riches accumulated by traders from the African slave trade, from colonial looting, from the private appropriation of common peasant lands, from the protection of national manufactures, and from the confiscation and /or sell Church land at a low price. Original accumulation thus intertwined internal and external processes of economies in a state of spasmodic expansion.

Classical economists did not see original accumulation from this angle, as they could not go beyond appearances: they identified capital with money and, in other cases, with the means of production (fixed capital): hence they thought that capitalism ( whatever they called it) had existed since man managed to make the first instruments of work. Adam Smith, when he studied the previous accumulation (Marx cited the Wealth of Nations: "The accumulation of stock must, by the nature of things, precede the division of labor") referred exclusively to the accumulation of money and instruments of labor in the hands of capitalists, without regard to the prior compulsory expropriation of the majority of the working population . At other times in history, large amounts of money had been accumulated in a few hands, but this did not give rise to capitalism, a system in which the accumulation of money was based on a new type of production relations.

Manufacturing, a growing substitute for handicrafts, was a consequence of the expansion of consumption, which led the producer to increase production, and the merchant to dedicate himself to industrial production as well. It also resulted from increased trade in base money, replacing direct exchange. With manufacturing, there was an increase in labor productivity, due to the technical division of production in the industrial establishment, where each worker performed a step in the manufacture of a single product. The expansion of the consumer market was directly related to the expansion of trade, both internally and towards the East or America.

Another feature was the emergence of direct interference by the trader in the production process, starting to buy raw materials and determine the pace of production. The process that created the capitalist system consisted in transforming the social means of subsistence and production into capital, and converting direct producers into wage earners. This already happened, to a limited extent, in the Italian coastal cities, in Flanders and in England; in the early fourteenth century, however, the benefits of the capitalist sector of the economy still came mostly from trade and finance, not manufacturing or industry. This changed in the succeeding century in England.

The genesis of the agrarian capitalist went through a metamorphosis that started with the serf foreman, passing through the free tenant and the sharecropper, until concluding in the “tenant proper”, who already had his own capital, hired salaried workers and paid rent, in cash or in kind. , to the landowner. The genesis of the tenant developed in England from its primitive stage in the bailiff (of lease: contract), still a serf, undergoing its replacement, during the second half of the XNUMXth century, by the colonist. The settler soon became a partner, who also disappeared to make way for the tenant, who sought to expand his capital by employing wage laborers and handed over to the landlord a part of the surplus product, in money or in products, as ground rent. The English capitalist tenant farmer thus emerged from the serf ranks of the Middle Ages.

Maurice Dobb accentuated this aspect, when he stated that the embryos of industrial capital were in small mercantile production with an agrarian base, in the economy of small separate and relatively autonomous producers, still submitted by extra economic mechanisms (mainly religious and military) to the feudal lords. As the peasants achieved emancipation from feudal exploitation, through revolts against the lords and conditions that favored them (such as the plagues that made the workforce scarce, and therefore more valued), they could keep for themselves larger shares of their production, amass a small surplus, use their profits to improve cultivation, and accumulate some capital.[xxiii]

The genesis of the industrial capitalist was not in the high bourgeoisie, but in the liberation movement of large feudal property represented by small mercantile producers, “main agents of productivity in the initial stage of capitalism”; independent peasants and artisans.[xxv]

Some of these peasants, now “independent”, became rich and started to use the work of others to accumulate capital and, progressively, to pay their servile obligations to the feudal lords in cash, in the form of a rent for the use of the land. Thus, capitalist tenant farmers (who leased land from the rural aristocracy and passed on a portion of their profits to them in the form of rent for their use) were consolidating at the same time as the multiplication of salaried rural workers, who made up a market workforce as well as an expanding consumer market, accelerating the move to a cash economy.

The English sixteenth century marked the rise of the capitalist tenant farmer, who grew rich as quickly as the rural population became poor. The usurpation of pastures, long-term leases, inflation and continuous depreciation of precious metals (the “price revolution” of the XNUMXth century), the lowering of wages, the continuous rise in prices of agricultural products, and that had to be paid to landlord, fixed by the old monetary value, were the factors responsible for the emergence of the tenant class that was strengthened by the increase in monetary circulation.

The price inflation of the following century favored new economic and social relations, intensified the dispute between merchants and lords and provided new functions for the State: “In the XNUMXth century, gold and silver circulating in Europe increased as a result of the discovery in America richer and easier to exploit mines. The value of gold and silver fell relative to other commodities. Workers continued to receive the same sum of money in metal as payment for their work force; the price of their labor in money remained stable, but their wages fell, as they received a smaller sum of goods in return for the same money.

This was one of the circumstances that favored the increase of capital and the rise of the bourgeoisie in the sixteenth century”.[xxiv] The currency and its circulation became a field of dispute between competing economic sectors. In 1558, Thomas Gresham, financial agent to Queen Elizabeth I, wrote that "bad money drives out good", and noted that if two coins had identical legal value but different metal content, those with a higher density of noble metal would be treasured. , which would harm commercial circulation. The English Crown began to intervene directly in the control of monetary circulation.

The new commercial bourgeoisie and the money changers and bankers were the dynamic elements of the new economic system, based simultaneously on profit, on the accumulation of wealth, on the control of production systems and on the permanent expansion of business. Parallel and complementary, violent conflicts eliminated the communitarian elements of European rural life: “The implementation of the 'market society' emerged as a confrontation between classes, between those whose interests were expressed in the new political economy of the market and those who contested it, placing the right to subsistence above the imperatives of profit”.[xxv] The expropriation of the peasants from their means of subsistence brought about the ruin of rural domestic industry, giving rise to urban industry and with it the industrial capitalist.

For these, a market emerged due to the ruin of domestic industry, linked to rural production. With the dissociation of workers from their means of production, the existence of industry was also guaranteed. The capitalist revolution, which would consolidate itself with urban industry, thus had its origin in economic and social changes in the countryside: “A general increase in agricultural [monetary] incomes represents an increase in the incomes of the majority of the population; technological change in agriculture affects most producers; a drop in the price of agricultural products tends to lower the cost of raw materials for non-agricultural sectors and of foodstuffs for wage earners in general”.[xxviii]

The agricultural revolution, accompanied by the growth of capitalist industry, brought with it an increase in the exploitation of labor and a rise in the number of people excluded from property, providing the reserve of labor that modern industry needed for its existence and expansion: “If enclosures from the XNUMXth century were involved with agricultural production, those from the XNUMXth century show a different quality. Directed towards the activity of organizing raw materials for urban industrial development, these enclosures focus on wool production; (they) can be considered the synthesis of the transformations that led to capitalism in England, because their specialization required an articulation with the market (since) income generation depended on markets (and) also on new technologies for processing wool, with new types of sheep. The growth of these activities imposed new forms of organization of urban industries, representing the end of the classic systems of corporations, increasing the offer of urban jobs and attracting the rural population to the cities”.[xxviii]

The origin of the industrial capitalist, on the other hand, was not restricted to guild masters, craftsmen and salaried workers who became capitalists through the expanded exploitation of wage labor: it also encompassed the rural capitalist and the merchant transformed into an industrial entrepreneur. The structuring center of the bourgeois pole of the new society in gestation constituted the genesis of the industrial capitalist.

The gradual and progressive transformation of masters, independent craftsmen, former serfs of the land, into capitalists, however, was too slow a method for capital accumulation. The methods used in the original accumulation skipped steps, driven by the comprehensive character of the new economic process. English merchants invested capital in the East India Companies and other overseas ventures, promoted and protected by the state.

The fundamental economic changes, however, were internal, and were based on changes in the class structure, the hegemony of capital over other forms of production. England was the first country to break with non-commercial agricultural production systems, reducing subsistence culture and doing away with common lands (commons). Agrarian property was incorporated into the commercial circuit and, through it, into the beginnings of industrial-based capitalist accumulation.

Different was the agrarian development in continental Europe. As Ellen M. Wood has pointed out, in eighteenth-century France, “where peasants still constituted the vast majority of the population and continued to hold most land, offices in the central state served as an economic resource for many members of the upper classes. as a means of extracting surplus labor from peasant producers in the form of taxes. Even large landowners who seized land rent typically depended on various extraeconomic powers and privileges to increase their wealth.

Without the separation, the product of an expropriation, of labor power and the means of production, which allows their owners to buy labor power as a commodity and use it for a longer period than the reproduction of the advanced value in the form of means of subsistence, of which they likewise have a monopoly, there would be neither profits nor rents. Thus, it is the fact of having appropriated the land that allows the rentier to claim as land rent a part of the surplus value extorted from the wage earner in the production process, since the capitalist had to use his land (for raw materials, for agricultural land, for transport or for buildings).[xxix]

The thesis of the agrarian origins of capitalism in England, or that the decisive part of the transition from feudalism to capitalism had the countryside as theater is, however, controversial. A famous debate took place based on Robert Brenner's thesis, presented in 1988, which objected to the structuralist theses that maintained that the new productive forces created by demographic pressure and commercial expansion were enough to explain the transition from feudalism to capitalism in Europe.[xxx] For this author, the dynamics of feudalism was mainly based on the structure of classes and property relations: it was class relations that impelled mercantile transformations (the development of businesses and cities), and not the opposite. It would not have been mainly the development of the productive forces that impelled the transition towards capitalism, but the (contingent) result of the class conflict between lords and peasants.

Robert Brenner observed that the long-term changes in the pre-modern medieval economy were defined by the structure of class relations (and the class struggles arising) in late feudalism, noting "the fact that in the process of explanation, i.e., in applying the model to specific historical and economic developments, class structure almost inevitably tends to creep in to understand a historical trend that the model cannot cover. More often, however, consciously or unconsciously, the class structure is simply integrated into the model itself and seen as essentially shaped or changeable in terms of the objective economic forces around which the model was constructed”. The author emphasized, on the issue of “transition”, the role of power relations and class struggles that determined the way in which demographic and commercial changes affected the development and distribution of wealth, altering the power relations between classes.

A quarter of a century after that debate, Ellen Meiksins Wood took some of its theses (the agrarian origins of capitalism, above all) to their ultimate consequences: “Agrarian capitalism made industrialization possible. The conditions of possibility created by agrarian capitalism – the transformations in property relations, the size and nature of the home market, the composition of the population and the nature of the extent of British trade and imperialism – were more substantial and far-reaching than any purely technological advance demanded by industrialization… Without the wealth created [by it], alongside entirely new motivations for colonial expansion – motivations different from the old forms of territorial acquisition – British imperialism would have been something very different from the engine of industrial capitalism in that came to be transformed”.[xxxii]

The notion of the Old Colonial System, therefore, covers two qualitatively different realities. What would be decisive and distinctive, for Wood, is that the English colonial system was not only important as a form of money-capital accumulation, but also as an organic periphery of industrial growth.[xxxi]

It was therefore England that took the decisive step. During the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries, Dutch commercial expansion still had the classic characteristics of mercantile expansion (buying cheap to sell high) and specialized in exotic tropical products. English expansion, on the other hand, incorporated its colonies as a supplying appendix of raw materials (especially cotton) and, later, as a protected market for its manufacturing production. As English industry took root in the metropolis, colonial monopoly lost importance as a means of original accumulation and became its obstacle.

In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, Adam Smith, while recognizing the advantages that colonial possessions meant for his country, spoke out against colonial monopoly. With regard to the link between agrarian development and the industrial revolution, Eric L. Jones underlined the indissociability of the relationship between industry and agriculture, as a key that allowed England to overcome the consequences “of the crisis that invested Europe in the early XNUMXth century, which lasted almost until the mid-eighteenth century. Technical innovations in the field were notable in England from the mid-XNUMXth century, with repercussions on the entire economy, preparing the conditions for an industrial revolution.[xxxii]

Paul Mantoux came to the conclusion that an “agricultural revolution” characterized by the private appropriation of communal lands, the right of new owners to enclose these lands, the overthrow of the traditional right to use commons, had been a condition of this revolution.[xxxv] The surplus generated by the rise of commercial agriculture encouraged the mechanization of agriculture. England was the country with the highest agricultural productivity, and England was more and better fed than other European regions, except the most prosperous rural areas, or the most affluent classes of the continental countries.

Jones even proposed a “model” of conditions that would have allowed the economic take-off not only of England, but of a group of countries, including part of western Europe, North America and Japan: “Its economic success depended on the conjunction of several factors| new and more favorable conditions for agricultural supply, the possibility of carrying out water transport in an economical way, and a decrease in demographic pressure, in some cases an absolute decrease in the population. The dynamic elements were the improvement of agricultural techniques and, in some cases, the availability of imported cereals at low prices and the slowing of population growth”.[xxxiv]

It is not possible to consider these factors outside of their historical context and, in the medium term, of the great military and political events. The determining events for the changes that occurred in England were: (a) The submission to the king of the English feudal nobility, which had been defeated by France in the Hundred Years' War (1337-1451) and suffered losses and weakened politically during the War of the Two Roses (1450-1485); (b) The breaking of the feudal bonds to which the peasants were subjected, becoming predominant, in the English fields, the class of free peasants, dedicated to small independent production; (c) The weakening of the clergy; (d) The end of Rome's (Vatican) interference in English internal affairs, determined through the creation of the Anglican Church, of which the King was supreme head; (e) Political and administrative centralization and the affirmation of nationality, which confirmed and reinforced royal powers; (f) The growing influence, with the king, in the vacuum opened by the nobility and the clergy, of the mercantile bourgeoisie, increasingly interested in foreign trade; (g) The substantial change in the profile of landowners in England.

As the State, moved by financial difficulties, sold lands in the public domain and those that had been expropriated from the Church to the commercial and financial bourgeoisie, the latter, in parallel, also acquired lands from the former ruined or wasteful nobility, a fact that made it possible to the strengthening of gentleman, at the same time that the power held by members of the former nobility became increasingly weak. While in other European nations the State was controlled by the nobility and by an absolutist king, the English State controlled by the bourgeoisie, began to encourage industrialization, even stimulating navigation. The English naval conquest began at the end of the 1652th century, with the victory over the “Invincible Armada” of Philip II and, later, with the defeat of Holland, in the period between 1674 and 1651, in wars provoked by commercial disputes, which became frequent from the Navigation Acts of XNUMX; England becomes the "Queen of the Seas".

This stimulus to navigation led the English to colonize territories in Asia and Africa, directing wealth from various parts of the world to England. It was on the basis of this set of conditions, not just national ones, that the passage from mercantilism to liberalism took place in England. The East India Company was created in 1600: fifteen years later, it already had more than twenty offices around the world. English foreign trade increased tenfold in just three decades, between 1610 and 1640, thanks to (and inducing) the development of production. Around 1640, some coal mines were already producing 25 thousand tons per year, against a few hundred in the previous century. Blast furnaces, steel companies, already employed hundreds of workers; in some textile companies, the number of workers (direct or at home) exceeded a thousand. A new bourgeoisie was at the center of this productive and commercial emergency: its economic interests, too great, became political.

The background and condition of the process was the radical transformation of English agriculture. The idea that the first capitalists helped transform land into an article of commerce through the use of state violence, that is, not through purely economic processes, is supported by Marx himself: “The violence that seizes common lands, followed as a rule by the transformation of crops into pastures, it begins at the end of the XNUMXth century and continues into the XNUMXth century.

The progress of the eighteenth century consists in having made law the vehicle for the theft of land belonging to the people. Robbery takes the parliamentary form given to it by the laws relating to the enclosure of common lands, which are decrees of expropriation of the people”. Land ceased to be a natural condition for production and became a commodity. In the same country, a parliamentary coup was necessary to turn common lands into private property: “The systematic theft of common lands, combined with the theft of Crown lands, contributed to increasing those large leases, called, in the eighteenth century, farms of capital or commercial farms”.

Workers were expelled from their lands and forced to look for jobs in cities. As the same author recalled: “In the XNUMXth century, the memory of the connection that existed between agriculture and communal land was naturally lost. The last major process of expropriation of peasants is finally the so-called land clearing, which consists of sweeping away human beings. All English methods culminated in this cleansing.” The land, previously populated by workers, was now pasture for sheep: “A human being is worth less than a sheepskin”, said a popular saying. The “cleansing of property” spread across Europe: “The theft of church property, the fraudulent alienation of state domains, the theft of common lands, and the transformation of feudal and clan property into modern private property, carried out with implacable terrorism, are among the idyllic methods of primitive accumulation”.[xxxiv] These methods incorporated land into capital and provided the city's industry with the necessary supply of proletarians.[xxxviii]

The formation process of the dispossessed classes, future proletarians of the capitalist industry, was violent and compulsory, not “natural” at all. The men who were expelled from the lands with the dissolution of feudal vassalages were not absorbed, in the same proportion and with the same speed, by industrial, domestic or commercial work. In this process, and in the struggles between artisans and their guilds, some artisans became rich at the expense of others who lost their means of work.

Those who “lost” only kept their workforce and became proletarians, those who won managed to accumulate resources for new investments. In England in the XNUMXth century, production techniques evolved, wool production expanded and the country prepared itself for the process that, two centuries later, would culminate in the Industrial Revolution, because we were no longer, as in previous centuries, facing a “parasitic capitalism in a feudal world”.

International trade induced the expansion of sheep farming and, with the expropriation of land, the lords expanded their creation on a large scale, which only needed a few people employed in the vast pastures of the large properties. Wool was used in manufactures, in the manufacture of fabrics and other textile products. With the growth of the wool market, the sheep herds also grew, initially limited by the royal authorities, which determined a maximum of two thousand heads per breeder.

With the expulsion of the serf-peasants, they went to the cities in search of work: the cities could not employ all the newly unemployed, who were thus driven to theft and begging. The flourishing of Flemish wool manufacturing, and the consequent rise in prices, encouraged the transformation of crops into pasture, creating the need to evict most peasants from their lands.

To “remedy” unemployment and its consequences, the “poor laws” were enacted, which appeared in England at the end of the XNUMXth century and during the XNUMXth century, and were later imitated in other countries. They were a direct consequence of the social transformations resulting from the exploitation of natural resources in the “New World” and the opening of new consumer markets, which favored the expansion of trade and manufacturing industry. The English rural population, expropriated and expelled from their lands, compelled to vagrancy, was framed in the discipline demanded by the new system of work through a legalized terrorism that used the whip, the red-hot iron and the torture.

Many agricultural areas, formerly cultivated ensuring the subsistence of numerous peasant families, were fenced off and transformed into pastures. Unable to adapt to the rigid discipline of manufacturing or even urban life, many displaced peasants became beggars; Laws and decrees followed to reduce this category of inhabitants. The laws prohibited the existence of unemployed people, punishing them with severe penalties.

Henry VIII established by law that “the sick and disabled old people are entitled to a license to beg, but healthy vagabonds will be flagellated and imprisoned” (the recidivists also had half of their ears cut off). The first English “poor law”, under the reign of Elizabeth I, prepared, under the pretext of compulsory poverty relief, the future “workhouses”, workhouses, where the poor were compulsorily placed at the disposal of the industrial capitalist.

The latter prospered because markets expanded, internally and externally, pressing a constant and accelerated increase in production, and capital was concentrated, which “contributed to increasing capital accumulation… the concentration in favor of maritime economies, with their new A highly efficient mechanism for the accumulation of capital (obtained by commercial enterprises abroad and in the colonies) provided the basis for accelerated accumulation. In the continental countries [of Europe] the governmental enterprise of the new absolute monarchies fostered industries, colonies and exports, which otherwise would not have flourished, expanded and saved mining and metallurgy from collapse and provided the foundations for industries in other places. where the power of the lords of the serf system and the weakness and parasitism of the middle classes inhibited it. The concentration of power in the maritime economies has contributed considerably to boosting productive investment. The increasing flow of colonial and foreign trade stimulated domestic industries and the agricultures that supplied them”.[xxxviii]

The concentration of wealth provided England with favorable conditions for the development of industries and allowed the country to expand its colonial power. The conquest of a growing foreign market supported by the still underdeveloped internal market was the answer to an already inefficient rural economy, determining an agrarian revolution. The end of the feudal system slowly transformed the agriculture of the period, expelling the peasant, ending with the remnants of feudal relations and with a rural world of subsistence economy, for from the enclosures an agriculture that provided raw material for capitalist investors: “Only Big industry provides, with machines, the constant basis of capitalist agriculture, radically expropriates the immense majority of the rural people and completes the separation between agriculture and domestic rural industry, whose roots – spinning and weaving – it uproots. Therefore, it alone conquers the entire internal market for industrial capital”.[xxxix]

What generated the most profit was the investment in the textile industry, which, in addition to being the main English industry, was the one that most needed to increase production to meet the growing demand conquered. This expressive demand for wool in the textile industry spurred England to look for evolutions and improvements in the production process, creating better tools and machines.[xl]

English agricultural productivity found an obstacle to its development due to the system of “open fields” and “common lands” (commons), used by peasants for planting and raising livestock, since the Middle Ages, as in most European countries. For this reason, technical innovations were accompanied by a major reorganization and resizing of rural properties, through the intensification of field fencing. To the enclosures consisted of the unification of the peasants' lots, until then dispersed in strips across the manorial property (open fields), in a single field surrounded by hedges and used in intensive cattle raising, or in the plantations that interested the owner. The new agricultural techniques promoted an increase in the supply of goods, which could be sold at a better price.

This practice was legally used, as it was allowed by the English Parliament since the XNUMXth century, and was intensified in the XNUMXth century, causing the elimination of yeomen (small farmers) and tenants. With the gentleman (gentle nobility of recent origin) in power, triggered the enclosures, authorized by Parliament, which, by allowing the formation of large areas of continuous land, created the required conditions for a series of improvements to become possible: elimination of unused areas , crop rotation, improvement of the drainage system, application of fertilizers and, in general, the application of other intensive production methods. The resulting increase in productivity provided agricultural production with conditions to meet the growing demand for raw materials and food and, on the other hand, led to the proletarianization of direct producers expelled from the fields.[xi]

The division of formerly collective lands benefited large landowners. The lands of the independent peasants, the yeomen, were gathered in one place and were so few that they did not guarantee their survival: they became rural proletarians; ceased to be farmers and artisans at the same time. With two main consequences: the decrease in the supply of workers in rural domestic industry, at a time when the market was gaining momentum, which made it essential to adopt a new form of production capable of satisfying it; proletarianization, which opened space for capital investment in agriculture, which resulted in production specialization, technical advancement and productivity growth.

The population grew and so did the consumer market; thus, there was surplus labor for the new urban industrial centers. The enclosures caused brutal unemployment in the rural area, with peasants and their families losing the plots from which they traditionally drew their livelihood. Concern about the social consequences of the process did not exist for those who were amazed by the progress of production, as was the case with an agronomist named Arthur Young: “In my view, population is a secondary objective. The soil must be cultivated in such a way as to make it produce as much as possible, without worrying about the population. Under no circumstances should the farmer remain trapped in outdated agricultural methods, whatever happens to the population. A population that, instead of adding to the wealth of the country, is a burden to it, is a harmful population”. In some English parishes, the simple announcement of edicts for the enclosure generated revolts and attempts to have them not posted on church doors.

“I deeply regret – said an English royal commissioner – the harm that I helped to do to two thousand poor people, the number of twenty families per village. Many of them, who were allowed by custom to lead flocks to the common pasture, cannot defend their rights, and many of them, almost all who have a little land may be said to have not more than an acre; as it is not enough to feed a cow, both the cow and the land are generally sold to wealthy landowners”; “It was not uncommon to see four or five rich breeders take over an entire parish, formerly divided among thirty or forty peasants, both small tenants and small landowners. They were all suddenly expelled and, at the same time, countless other families, who depended almost solely on them, for their work and their subsistence, those of blacksmiths, carpenters, carpenters and other artisans and people of trade, not to mention day laborers and servants. ”.[xliii] The agrarian enclosures were called, therefore, a “revolution of the rich against the poor”.

Lords and nobles were disturbing the social order, destroying traditional laws and customs, either through violence or through intimidation and pressure. They literally robbed the poor of their share of common land, demolishing houses that until then, by virtue of ancient customs, the poor had considered theirs and their heirs. Abandoned villages and ruins of dwellings testified to the ferocity of the incipient “capitalist revolution”. The English aristocracy began, in the following years, a systematic effort to modernize agriculture, with the aim of increasing the income of its properties, following the example of the bourgeoisie that enriched itself with commercial and financial activities. English agriculture developed with the spread of new farming techniques and tools.[xiii]

The end of the common use of land generated the “free worker”, expelled from the countryside. Agriculture was practiced in England, as well as in the rest of Europe, through methods and instruments that were still quite primitive. Soil cultivation, carried out by the medieval triennial clearing system, left the field unproductive for one year out of three, to recover fertility. The plows were rudimentary and the forage insufficient to feed the herds during the winter, making it necessary to slaughter them in large numbers in the autumn.

How did England take off economically? The first hypotheses to explain the “English privilege” referred to geographical factors: England had large reserves of mineral coal in its subsoil, that is, the main source of energy to move machines and steam locomotives. In addition to the source of energy, the British had large reserves of iron ore, the main raw material used. In continental Europe, the major centers of industrial development were the coal mining regions, northern France, the Sambre and Meuse river valleys; in Germany, the Ruhr valley, and also some regions of Belgium.

In addition to these places, industrialization stuck to major cities such as Paris and Berlin; road interconnection centers such as Lyon, Cologne, Frankfurt, Kraków and Warsaw; to the main ports, such as Hamburg, Bremen, Rotterdam, Le Havre, Marseille; to textile hubs such as Lille, Ruhr, Roubaix, Barmen-Elberfeld, Chemmitz, Lodz and Moscow, and to steel districts and heavy industry regions in the Loire River basin, the Saar and Silesia. The English bourgeoisie had enough capital to finance the factories, buy raw materials and machines and hire employees.

The wider English consumer market can also be highlighted as a factor that contributed to British capitalist pioneering. These factors soon showed their limitations. The capitalist economy tended towards the constant innovation of products and forms of work. The more sophisticated the means of work, the greater the productivity (more units of goods produced in less working time), the lower the costs and prices, the greater the possibility of selling to more people, conquering more markets.

But nothing indicates that capitalists, in the historical circumstances of the XNUMXth or XNUMXth centuries, were interested in revolutionizing the means of production, building innovative machines. The type of market to which they were accustomed was formed in the first place by the rich, nobles and bourgeois, who wanted luxury goods, expensive and in small quantities. The profit margin was high without the need to produce or market a lot of goods. Poor consumers who satisfied their needs exclusively in the market were neither numerous nor adept at standardized products.

It was necessary for mechanized production to create its market, for industrious and pioneering capitalists to bet on technological innovations, for the State to support them, and for them to really want to replace the manufactures of India, in the case of the textile sector, with cheap and abundant goods. made in England. The realization of this tendency explains “English privilege”. England had a state willing to support its capitalists; a potentially large domestic market; and an equally large and growing foreign market, based on a veritable empire, which began to be built in the early XNUMXth century, with a centralized national army and an increasingly efficient merchant navy.

The political condition that differentiated England from the rest of the world (with the partial exception of the Netherlands, and with the difference that these had scarce natural resources and limited geographic extension) was that the English bourgeoisie had impelled a victorious revolution, managing to exercise the power in order to create the legal and institutional conditions favorable to capitalist activity and colonial expansion. England had rich deposits of iron and coal, and the demographic factor was important in forming a large domestic consumer market. These initially national factors ended up having worldwide projection.

*Osvaldo Coggiola He is a professor at the Department of History at USP. Author, among other books, of Marxist economic theory: an introduction (boitempo).


[I] Karl Marx. The capital, Book I, vol. 1.

[ii] Perry Anderson. Lineages of the Absolutist State. São Paulo, Editora Unesp, 2016 [1974].

[iii] Carlos Astarita. Social conflict in feudalism. History & Class Struggle nº 14, Cândido Rondon, University of West Paraná, September 2012.

[iv] Theo Santiago. Capitalism: Transition. Rio de Janeiro, Eldorado, 1975.

[v] Barbara W. Tuchman. One Specchio Lontano. A section of adventure and calamità: il Trecento. Milan, Arnoldo Mondadori, 1992, as well as the preceding citation.

[vi] Charles Van Doren. A Brief History of Knowledge. Rio de Janeiro, House of the Word, 2012.

[vii] Joel Cornette. Le rêve brisé by Charles Quint. In: Comment meurent les empires. Les Collections de l'Histoire nº 48, Paris, July-September 2010.

[viii] Paul Mantoux. The Industrial Revolution in the XNUMXth Century. São Paulo, Hucitec, 1988 [1959].

[ix] Gerald AJ Hodgett. Social and Economic History of Medieval Europe. Madrid, Alianza Universidad, 1982.

[X] Name derived from Old French people, the term designated the rural possessing class that, although devoid of noble titles, had aspirations to transform itself into a landed aristocracy.

[xi] Mark Overton. Agricultural Revolution in England. The transformation of the agrarian economy 1500-1850. Cambridge, CambridgeUniversityPress, 1996.

[xii] Nino Salamone. Social Causes of the Industrial Revolution. Lisbon, Presence, 1978.

[xiii] Geoffrey Parker. El Ejército de Flandes y el Camino Español 1567–1659. Madrid, Alliance, 2010.

[xiv] Loretta Bruschini Vincenzini. Story of the Borsa. Roma, Newton & Compton, 1998.

[xv] Leo Huberman. History of the Wealth of Man. Rio de Janeiro, Zahar, 1974.

[xvi] Francis Bacon. The Essays. London, Penguin, 1986 [c. 1625].

[xvii] Eli Filip Heckscher. The Mercantilist Era. History of the organization and economic ideas from the end of the Media Age to liberal society. Mexico, Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1943 [1931].

[xviii] Francisco José Calazans Falcon. Mercantilism and Transition. São Paulo, Brasiliense, 1982.

[xx] Name derived from the French economic policy of Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), Minister of State and Economy of King Louis XIV and Controller General of Finance, a policy identified with actions to encourage the development of manufactures, with the aim of expanding French exports of manufactured goods by restricting imports.

[xx] Adolphe-Jerôme Blanqui. Histoire de l'Economie Politique en Europe. Depuis les anciens jusqu'à nos jours. Geneva, Slatkine Reprints, 1980 [1882].

[xxx] Pierre Deyon. Mercantilism. São Paulo, Perspective, 2009.

[xxiii] Michael Perelman. The secret history of primitive accumulation and classical political economy. the commoner nº 26, Lisbon, March 2018.

[xxiii] Maurice Dobb. The Evolution of Capitalism. Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, 1987 [1947].

[xxv] Kohachiro Takahashi. Contribution to the discussion. In: Maurice Dobb and Paul M. Sweezy. Du Féodalisme au Capitalisme. Problems of the transition. Paris, Francois Maspero, 1977.

[xxiv] Karl Marx. Salaried Work and Capital. Beijing, Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras, 1976 [1847].

[xxv] Ellen Meiksins Wood. The Origin of Capitalism, cit.

[xxviii] Phyllis Deane. The Industrial Revolution. Rio de Janeiro, Zahar, 1982.

[xxviii] Francisco Falcon and Antonio E. Rodrigues. The Making of the Modern World. The construction of the West from the 2006th to the XNUMXth centuries. Rio de Janeiro, Campus-Elsevier, XNUMX.

[xxix] “The land monopoly allows the owner to appropriate a part of the surplus value, under the name of land rent, whether this land is used for agriculture, construction, railways or any other productive purpose” (Karl Marx. Salary, Prezzo and Profitto, Naples, Laboratorio Politico, 1992 [1865]).

[xxx] Cf. Eduardo Barros Mariutti. The Brenner Debate: a new perspective for studying the formation of capitalism. Political Economy Readings, nº 8, Campinas, June 2000 – June 2001.

[xxxii] Ellen Meiksins Wood. The Origin of Capitalism. Rio de Janeiro, Jorge Zahar, 2001.

[xxxi] A similar idea was exposed by: Héctor Alimonda. Original accumulation: a review. Studies nº 4, São Paulo, FFLCH-USP, October 1986.

[xxxii] EL Jones. Agriculture and Economic Growth in England 1650-1815. London, Methuen, 1967.

[xxxv] Paul Mantoux. The Industrial Revolution in the XNUMXth Century cit.

[xxxiv] Eric Jones. Agricoltura and Rivoluzione Industiale. Rome, Riuniti, 1982.

[xxxiv] Karl Marx. The capital, Book I, vol. 1.

[xxxviii] The expression came from ancient Rome, where it designated the citizen of the lowest social class, who did not pay taxes and was considered useful to society only for the children (offspring) he generated.

[xxxviii] Eric J. Hobsbawn. The Origins of the Industrial Revolution. Sao Paulo, Global, 1979.

[xxxix] Karl Marx. The capital, cit.

[xl] Fernão Pompêo de Camargo Neto. The foundations of the Industrial Revolution. FACECA notebooks, Campinas, Vol. 14, nº 1, January-June 2005.

[xi] Jonathan D. Chambers (Enclosure and the labor supply in the Industrial Revolution. Economic History Review Second Series, vol. V, London, 1953) argued that in periods when enclosure laws were imposed, the number of people residing in farm areas increased, which would invalidate Marx’s thesis, to which Harry Magdoff replied that “Marx was making a generalization of broad significance for a period from the fourteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century. At another point, he talks about processes in the provisional phase. In fact, this has nothing to do with Marx's analysis, because within Marx's theory and the breadth of his presentation is recognition of both the long and short term with regard to agriculture and the stages of development of manufacturing processes. Chambers' critique is important for understanding Marx's methodology and its importance in understanding economic history (in the face of) bourgeois methodology, which isolates issues out of context”. For an opposing view to Chambers, see: Jon S. Cohen and Martin L. Weitzman. A marxian model of enclosures. Journal of Development Economics vol. 1, nº 4, Amsterdam, Elsevier, 1975.

[xliii] Paul Mantoux. The Industrial Revolution in the XNUMXth Century cit.

[xiii] Eric L. Jones. Agriculture and industrial revolution. In: Ciro Manca (ed.). Formazione e Transformazione dei Sistemi Economici in Europa dal Feudalesimo al Capitalismo. Padova, CEDAM, 1995.

See this link for all articles