Marxism and the ‘Dutch Miracle’: The Dutch Republic and the Transition-Debate

in Historical Materialism
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Abstract

The Dutch Republic holds a marginal position in the debate on the transition from feudalism to capitalism, despite its significance in the early stage of the development of global capitalism. While the positions of those Marxists who did consider the Dutch case range from seeing it as the first capitalist country to rejecting it as an essentially non-capitalist commercial society, all involved basically accept an image of Dutch development as being driven by commerce rather than real advances in the sphere of production. Their shared interpretation of the Dutch ‘Golden Age’, however, rests on an interpretation of Dutch economic history that does not match the current state of historical knowledge. Rereading the debate on the Dutch trajectory towards capitalism in the light of recent economic historiography seriously challenges established views, and questions both major strands in the transition-debate.

Marxism and the ‘Dutch Miracle’: The Dutch Republic and the Transition-Debate

in Historical Materialism

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