Capitalists in Spite of Themselves: Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe
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 development of 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 and labor. 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. He demonstrates 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 invaluable for anyone wishing to understanding the economic and social history of early modern Europe. Capitalists in Spite of Themselves was the winner of the 2003 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award of the American Sociology Association.
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able action agricultural alliance allies ancien régime aristocrats autonomy became Black Death bourgeois capacities capital capitalist Catholic challenges chapter church cities city-states class conflicts clergy clerical commercial copyholders court created crown decline demographic dominated Dutch economic eighteenth century elite and class elite conflict England and France English estates Europe European families feudal fiscal Florence Florentine forces freeholders French Frondes gentry guilds guildsmen Habsburgs hegemony Henrician Reformation Île-de-France income interests investment Italian kings labor dues land landlords leases magic magnates manor lords Medici medieval merchants military monarchs Netherlands nobles nonelites oligarchs papal patricians peasants percent political population production profits Protestant Protestantism provinces Reformation regions relations of production religious Renaissance rents revenues Revolution rival elites royal rural seigneurs seventeenth century sharecropping sixteenth century Spain Spanish strategies structure tax farmers tax farms tenants tion trade transformed urban urban autonomy venal offices villeins Weber