Rodney Hilton, Marxism and the transition from feudalism to capitalism
AbstractAn eminent medievalist and one of the most influential of the small band of Marxist historians working in the UK before 1968, Rodney Hilton’s work on the development of the English feudal system into industrial capitalism was, despite its renown, ultimately mistaken. The problems with Hilton’s account were largely inherited from Maurice Dobb, whose interpretation of Marxist theory led him to exaggerate the role of class struggle to the exclusion of other factors. These assumptions about the importance of class struggle in the transition from feudalism to capitalism were carried over from Dobb’s early work to the work of Hilton and the Marxist historians who followed him. Dobb’s account was predicated upon the inevitable failure of feudalism – an assumption that failed to explain the preceding five-hundred years of success and expansion. This paper looks at how Dobb’s revised understanding of the role of markets in socialist economies subsequently filtered through to Hilton’s reassessment of markets under feudalism, identifies the flaws in the analysis Dobb offered, and traces how these assumptions were carried through to the work of Hilton, before finally offering an alternate diagnosis of the “feudal crises” of the Marxist canon in terms of technical innovation.”
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History in its series Economic History Working Papers with number 22530.
Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: LSE, Dept. of Economic History Houghton Street London, WC2A 2AE, U.K.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7955 7084
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/economicHistory/
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N0 - Economic History - - General
- P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
- B14 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Socialist; Marxist
- B11 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Preclassical (Ancient, Medieval, Mercantilist, Physiocratic)
- B1 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925
- O52 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
You can help add them by filling out this form.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (LSE Research Online manager).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.