Capitalists in Spite of Themselves: Elite Conflict and Economic Transitions in Early Modern Europe

Paperback | August 15, 2002

byRichard Lachmann

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Here, Richard Lachmann offers a new answer to an old question: Why did capitalism develop in some parts of early modern Europe but not in others? Finding neither a single cause nor an essentialist unfolding of a state or capitalist system, Lachmann describes the highly contingent developmentof various polities and economies. He identifies, in particular, conflict among feudal elites--landlords, clerics, kings, and officeholders--as the dynamic which perpetuated manorial economies in some places while propelling elites elsewhere to transform the basis of their control over land andlabor. Comparing regions and cities within and across England, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands from the twelfth through eighteenth centuries, Lachmann breaks new ground by showing step by step how the new social relations and political institutions of early modern Europe developed. Hedemonstrates in detail how feudal elites were pushed toward capitalism as they sought to protect their privileges from rivals in the aftermath of the Reformation. Capitalists in Spite of Themselves is a compelling narrative of how elites and other classes made and responded to political and religious revolutions while gradually creating the nation-states and capitalist markets which still constrain our behavior and order our world. It will prove invaluablefor anyone wishing to understanding the economic and social history of early modern Europe.

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Here, Richard Lachmann offers a new answer to an old question: Why did capitalism develop in some parts of early modern Europe but not in others? Finding neither a single cause nor an essentialist unfolding of a state or capitalist system, Lachmann describes the highly contingent developmentof various polities and economies. He identif...

Richard Lachmann is at State University of New York, Albany.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2002Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195159608

ISBN - 13:9780195159608

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Table of Contents

1. Something Happened2. Feudal Dynamics3. The Limits of Urban Capitalism4. State Formation5. A Dead End and a Detour: Spain and the Netherlands6. Elite Defensiveness and the Transformation of Class Relations in Britain and France7. Religions and Ideology8. ConclusionNotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"The quantity of detail....of historical debate, one of the book's more substantial contributions. Graduate students and researchers alike will benefit enormously from his engaging, thoughtful look at the twists and turns in a century's scholarship on the rise of capitalism" - - nterprise andSociety