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The Transition Debate Today

A Review of The Origin of Capitalism in England, 1400–1600 by Spencer Dimmock

Tibor Rutar

Abstract

Spencer Dimmock has produced a convincing restatement, defence and update of Robert Brenner’s influential work on the origin of capitalism in England. The book productively engages with many Marxist and non-Marxist critics of the so-called ‘Brenner Thesis’, and presents fresh secondary and primary evidence in favour of it. This review sketches the theoretical background of Brenner’s intervention, summarises Dimmock’s take on Brenner, and comments on a few notable contemporary critiques of Brenner’s general framework which are not explicitly engaged with by Dimmock.