The Agrarian Origins of Capitalism

Authors

  • Ellen Meiksins Wood

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14452/MR-050-03-1998-07_2

Keywords:

Ecology, Political Economy

Abstract

One of the most well established conventions of Western culture is the association of capitalism with cities. Capitalism is supposed to have been born and bred in the city. But more than that, the implication is that any city—with its characteristic practices of trade and commerce—is by its very nature potentially capitalist from the start, and only extraneous obstacles have stood in the way of any urban civilization giving rise to capitalism. Only the wrong religion, the wrong kind of state, or any kind of ideological, political, or cultural fetters tying the hands of urban classes have prevented capitalism from springing up anywhere and everywhere, since time immemorial—or at least since technology has permitted the production of adequate surpluses.

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Published

1998-07-02

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Section

Articles

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