[OPE-L:7502] merchant capitalists

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Sat Aug 10 2002 - 03:21:28 EDT

As John Milios has noted, II Rubin  seems to have understood what 
Marx meant by the revolutionary path to capitalism as the merchant 
capitalist bringing craftsmen under one roof and becoming a direct 
organizer of production, rather than dominating them  simply through 
buying up and putting out (see History of Economic Thought, p.156). 
That is, Marx did not understand the revolutionary path as one in 
which by abstinence the petty proprietor raises himself "at a snail's 
pace" from the ranks to become an industrialist and merchant. This 
was not the path Marx was calling revolutionary in contrast to the 
putting out or buying up system. In fact this story of "up from the 
ranks"  seems to me--as it did to Sweezy fifty years ago--to come 
close to the very apologetics which Marx mocked as nursery rhyme. 
Maxine Berg's and Peter Kriedte's respective works seem to be among 
the most important studies of proto industrialization.

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