marx debates - A Paul Sweezy Critique Dobbs definition of...

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1 A. Paul Sweezy - Critique - Dobbs definition of feudalism identical to serfdom. Serfdom too broad as it can be attributed to many things while feudalism is a specific system B. Theory of Western European feudalism - must be recognized as system of use that is production for use - feudal warfare upsets, impoverishes, and exhausts society, but has no tendancy to transform it - surplus of population exercises no creative or revolutionizing influence on feudal society - Dobbs ignores unchanging stature of Eastern Europe and in doing so comes in inaccurate theories in fall of feudalism C. Dobb’s Theory of the Decline of Feudalism - ‘natural economy’ and ‘exchange economy’ cannot mix - Dobb believes fall attributed to internal factors - the overall “inefficiency of Feud. As a system of production” - essentially the over exploitation of labor force (serfs deserted) D. Critique of Dobb’s Theory - Dobb’s factors leading to the fall include: parasitic class size, war and brigandage, age of chivalry - explanation needed of intensifying of serfs desertion and of war and brigandage - little support for Dobbs argument - doubts growth of parasitic class importance - serf population grows parallel, feudalism still grows slowly during period - expanding trade since 11 th century brought increasing amount of goods/riches - Dobbs too light on trade relationship with feudal lords need for extravagance, external factor (trade) - serfs flight from manors not because fo growing oppression and want of own land but pull of towns and trade econ. - Only can be explained by arising from causes external to the system. E. More on the Decline of feudalism - trade = money economy and money economy is a natural dissolvent of feudal relations is too simple - really comes down to production of market and production of use - peddlers and local village markets not threats, yet long distance centers of trade became generated commodity of production; higher forms of specialization and division labor - blend of trade and feud side by side - ability to produce for less money it cost to buy; pressure to buy led to pressure to sell - POSSIBLE TO SEEK RICHES - wealth became its own exchange economy giving people’ business attitude’ - attractivity to efficiency of being specialized, greater gains for producing for market equates to more people coming to town; ricky but yet nothing to lose - Dobbs right in that trade does not automatically bring end of serfdom
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  • Winter '08
  • Worger
  • Feudalism, Serfdom, feudal society, feudalism C. Dobb, petty producers, feudal warfare upsets

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