Comments on O'Connor's Review of <em>The Twisted Dream</em>


  • Robert Sherry
  • James O'Connor



Political Economy


This comment is not a general crrtique of James O'Connor's review of The Twisted Dream: Capitalist Development in the United States Since 1776 by Douglas Dowd (MR, March 1975). Rather, it is a response to a specific, though major, disagreement between Dowd and O'Connor and to the idea of independent commodity production as a mode of production. O'Connor criticizes Dowd for his characterization of the United States as capitalist from the very beginning of its settlement. In place of this initial dominance of the capitalist mode of production, O'Connor substitutes independent commodity production as the mode of production. O'Connor admits that Dowd recognizes the existence of a class of independent producers, made up of farmers, artisans, teamsters, and small traders. The point at issue is that O'Connor views these independent producers as constituting not simply a social form within the emerging capitalist mode of production, but as the basis of a distinct mode of production which constituted a serious barrier to the development of capitalism in the United States.

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