By Larry Patriquin
This e-book examines the evolution of public counsel for the bad in England shape the overdue medieval period to the economic Revolution. putting bad aid within the context of the original category relations of agrarian capitalism, it considers how and why reduction in England within the early smooth interval used to be certain, with comparisons made to Scotland, eire, France and Germany. hard and provocative, the writer argues for a class-based reinterpretation of the origins of the welfare country.
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Additional info for Agrarian Capitalism and Poor Relief in England, 1500-1860: Rethinking the Origins of the Welfare State
Rent was determined by extra-economic coercion, not by competition and the need to make and maintain an average level of profit. Production was diversified, consisting of a wide range of subsistence goods. Only surpluses beyond household requirements would have been sold. In short, neither lords nor peasants had the threat of the market hanging over their heads, with its constant obligation to compete against others. Such a market did not yet exist. Such a market was not allowed to exist. Given their social relations, precapitalist societies tended to have an increasing subdivision of land over the course of a number of generations, a lack of specialization as families attempted to be as self-sufficient as possible, and a declining level of productivity on the ever-crowded properties.
This marked ‘the starting point of modern capitalism’, so much so that ‘industrial capitalism as a social system cannot be said to have existed before that date’. Polanyi (1957, p. 71) correctly noted that the creation of the market ‘demands nothing less than the institutional separation of society into an economic and political sphere’. However, he dated this separation much too late, from roughly the 1790s, because he tended to conflate the market with industrialization, as did Wolf. He did not see market imperatives arising long before this period, nor did he view the competitive obligations that had developed in agriculture as a precondition for the explosion of industry in the years 1830–1880.
The cause of change, then, from production for use to production for the market had to be external to the Capitalist and Precapitalist Societies 35 system. This key factor, Sweezy argued, was long distance trade, which resulted in commodities being manufactured in cities. This eventually created a system whereby finished goods were exchanged before being consumed. Maurice Dobb, in contrast, argued that Sweezy had focused on relations of exchange and not relations of production. In particular, Sweezy had overlooked the class conflict that is internal to feudal society.