Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European by Immanuel Wallerstein

By Immanuel Wallerstein

Immanuel Wallerstein's hugely influential, multi-volume opus, The sleek World-System, is one among this century's maximum works of social technology. An cutting edge, panoramic reinterpretation of worldwide background, it strains the emergence and improvement of the trendy international from the 16th to the 20 th century.

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Additional info for Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century (The Modern World-System, Volume 1)

Sample text

Population grew. The Crusades provided some of the advantages of colonial plunder. And then sometime in the fourteenth century, this expansion ceased. The cultivated areas retracted. Population declined. And throughout feudal Europe and beyond it, there seemed to be a "crisis," marked by war, disease, and economic hardship. Whence came this "crisis" and what were its consequences? First, in what sense was there a crisis? Here there is some disagreement, not so much as to the description of the process as to the emphasis in causal explanation.

But there was a problem of customers for the wool. Wages rose, which was a particular burden for small and medium-sized landowners who turned to the State for protection against wage rises. "The disaggregation to manorial production, which becomes ever more severe after 1350, is proof of a continuous slump . . "19 Stagnation is, on the face of it, a curious consequence. One might have expected the following scenario. Reduced population leads to higher wages which, with rents relatively inelastic, would mean a change in the composition of demand, shifting part of the surplus from lord to peasant, and hence ensuring that less of it would be hoarded.

The landowner lost customers and tenants. The artisan lost customers. There was turn from arable to pasture land because it required less manpower. But there was a problem of customers for the wool. Wages rose, which was a particular burden for small and medium-sized landowners who turned to the State for protection against wage rises. "The disaggregation to manorial production, which becomes ever more severe after 1350, is proof of a continuous slump . . "19 Stagnation is, on the face of it, a curious consequence.

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