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DEBATE - Further Thoughts on Agrarian Capitalism: A Reply to Albritton

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In response to Albritton [2000], who asserts that the central dynamic of capitalism's genesis was putting-out manufacturing, I provide a sketch of the processes of agrarian capitalism. The elaboration of the common law in the Middle Ages enabled widespread conversion to leaseholds after the plague. An increasingly privatized system of land ownership resulted from the enclosure movement in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and the upheavals of the seventeenth century represented the triumph of the enclosers. The rise of cottage industry in the eighteenth century was supported by a systematic effort at improving agricultural productivity. By the Industrial Revolution, the principle of individual control over production had long been established.

Keywords: Albritton; agrarian capitalism; cottage industry; enclosers; leaseholds

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 1, 2001

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