Thursday, May 20, 2010

Discuss the process of class formation in England during the time of the growth of capitalism.

The growth of capitalism in England led to the formation of classes within the England economic and social environment. The flourishing industrialization period in the 18th century intensified the stratification of the England society within the growth of capitalism. Like any other European county during the growth of capitalism within the industrialization period stratification with the societies emerged those who own the means of production and those how sold their labour for economic benefits. The growth of Capitalism led to the transitory phenomena that led to the creation of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. This easy will discuss and elucidate the process of the class formation in England during the growth of capitalism.

The disintegration of the feudal mode of production that was largely affected by the primitive accumulation process by the merchant capitalists led to the formation of a new mode of production the capitalist system Dobb (1963; 181) elaborates that capitalism did not grow to any stature until the disintegration of the feudalism had reached an advanced stage the petty primitive accumulation which was the legacy of the feudal society was itself partially subordinated to capital and state policy in England was being shaped into by new bourgeois influences. Capitalism according Dobb (2007:3) it is a system of unfettered individual enterprise: a system where economic and social relations are ruled by contract, where men are free agents in seeking their livelihood and legal compulsions and restrictions are absent. Dobb (148:1963) quotes Karl Marx elaborating that England stratification of classes did not appear pure in form in which the capitalist society had two forms of classes the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

Most of the peasants that migrated from the farms or the rural areas during the disintegration of the feudal economic system into the urban areas become the proletariat class that offered their labour to the bourgeoisie according to Dobb (86; 1963) the productivity of labour and the unit of production alike were too small and source capital accumulation had to be looked for not within the petty mode of production with the urban handcrafts enshrined these development disrupted the primitive simplicity of the urban communities hence the development of the rise of a privileged class of burghers began to engage exclusively in wholesale trade.

The inheritance of the feudal authority among the class of the capitalist society that of means of production control and ownership was in the England capitalistic economy as the source of capitalist revenue and accumulation was based on the exploitation of the proletarian although contractual relationship existed and free exchange. According to Dobb (1963;87) the riches and accumulation of the urban bourgeoisie was not centered on the serfs to toil for them and had not invested in the employment of an industrial proletariat. Most of the burgher wealth in the capitalism growth in England was produced not acquired different form the primitive accumulation that involved the merchant capitalists. Dobb (1963:88) elaborates that the vast accumulations of the merchant class can be explained in twofold one of exploiting some political advantage or scarcely-veiled plunder secondly class of merchants was quick to acquire powers of monopoly which fenced its ranks from competition and served to turn the terms of exchange to its advantage in its dealings with the producer and the consumer. Accumulation of wealth during the growth of the capitalist economy was the major base to the formation the bourgeoisie class Dobb (1963:90) elaborates that the methods of controlling the means of attaining wealth by the burgesses was very fundamental as they levied market dues and tolls which provided a very important source of revenue to the town.

In England towns in the 14th century the bourgeoisie class was now in control of the means of production Dobb (1963; 100) the political plutocracy at that period of time also fuelled the expansion of the bourgeoisie class which involved an actual usurpation of economic privileges and political control by the new burgher plutocracy the urban democracy that was in England was abolished and trading privileges had been more or less open to the general citizens. The growth of capitalism which led to the emergence industrial era that was mainly focused of development of new technologies in farming, textiles and manufacturing sector in England all these inventions where in the motive to increase profit and also in the motive to create wealth.

Creation of wealth in England also led to the formation of classes the bourgeoisie as the class that owned the means of production and where politically strong in controlling trade and revenue accumulation of other classes Dobb (1963; 100) gives the example of how the Gild Merchant in England which was mainly composed of the majority of burgesses including craftsmen, tended to become a close organization and to exclude craftsmen from the privileges of wholesale and trade. This monopoly over the means of income and capital accumulation led the bourgeoisie to accumulate more wealth and to enhance more control over the means of production. Dobb (1963:102) political power over towns was in the hands of the burgher oligarchy which resulted in the attainment of monopoly over the wholesale of trade.

While the market was experiencing a boom in England the division between classes increased Dobb (1963;109) elaborates that internally the market was expanding not only through the growth of towns and the multiplication of urban markets but also increased penetration of money economy into the manor with the growth of hired labour and the leasing of demesne for money. The bourgeoisie classes was growing in the midst of growth the capitalism system due to these factors according to Dobb (1963;178) capitalism demands not only the transfer of titles of wealth into the hands of the bourgeois class but the concentration of the ownership of wealth into much fewer hands.

In England during the growth of Capitalism the increase of ownership of property and capital accumulation by the bourgeoisie class was intensive as the capitalism economic system paves way for privatization and free trade, the bourgeoisie class took the opportunity of such an economic system. Dobb (1963; 182) elaborates that the most important to history of accumulation was the rapid increase in the supply of the precious metals in the 16th century and the price inflation. During the growth of capitalism price inflation was the main factor which resulted in the massive expansion of the bourgeoisie wealth Dobb (1963; 182) suggests that price inflation was no doubt the powerful factor in facilitating the transfer of land into bourgeois hands the price at which land could be purchased tended to lag behind the rise in other values and the existing owners of land were inclined to acquire money as an object of hoarding in terms of traditional land values.

The growing of financial institutions during the growth of capitalism within England resulted also in the growth of the bourgeoisie class according to Dobb (1963; 189) banking institutions and the extension of the of the Crown borrowing and state debt were the most powerful influences in promoting bourgeois accumulation as public debt is one of the powerful levels of primitive accumulation. The maturing industrial capitalism gave birth to the proletariat class that depended on the producer as they offered the labour in return of economic incentives Dobb (1963;222) quotes Marx that for capitalism as a production system to mature two different kinds of commodity processors must come face to face and into contact on the other hand the owners of money ,means of production, means of subsistence ,who are eager to increase the sum of values they posses by buying other people’s labour power on the other hand, free labourers , the sellers of their own labour power. Stilwell (2006:50) also elaborates capitalism is a system of ‘alienated labour’. This characteristic is useful in understanding the appropriate developmental path as it demonstrated the importance of labour in a capitalistic society, how labour can be associated with the level of output and relations to profits, from the feudalism economic system the developmental path created classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat

Primitive accumulation resulted in the deprivation of the peasants on the means of production the land and any other revenue generating means as capitalism was growing need for labour –power was supplied by the alarming number of the proletariat class in England according to Dobb (1963;2230) the increase in the population in England in the 19th century resulted in the growth of the proletariat as they were the majority whilst the minority were the bourgeoisie that owned the means of production. The growing industrial capitalist environment in England in the 18th century led to landholding from small holders to larger one according to Dobb (1963; 227) in the 18th century in England dispossession quicken small farms being absorbed by bigger ones and the forced evictions of many smaller holders burdened by debt in the late 19th century and early 19th century were cut off from their traditional by employment in the cottage industry.

The ability of the of the displaced farmers and the peasants from the rural areas to obtain capital and the means of production resulted in them becoming the wage earns according to Dobb (1963:230) the inability to obtain working capital and progressively enchained by debt and the multiplication of apprentices that was everywhere encouraged by the growing dominance of capital over production served merely to increase the number of those who were destined for life to be wage earners even if they had cherished other ambitions. The growth of the industrial capitalism resulted in the England authorities to impose laws that would make the proletariat offer their labour to the bourgeoisie factories and farms Dobb (1963; 232) elaborates that the imposition of the Tudor policy was to force the proletarian class to submit their labour it rendered being unemployed as an offence with characteristic brutality.

The ‘process of proletarianization’ indicates the creation of a class of people who do not control the means of production, and who survive by selling their labour. According to , Mikkelsen (1996:6) proletarianization refers to (a) the separation of workers from control of the means of production (expropriation), and (b) increasing dependence of workers on the sale of their labour power (wagework). Proletarianization points indirectly to an array of changes beginning in the agrarian system of production and agrarian ownership of property, capital flow, and new social and demographic structures, along with a characteristic concentration of capital, which includes industrial production as well as its spatial distribution. The historical version of this process addresses a proletarianization that crystallized between the 16th century and the middle of the 19th century in England rural areas, and that, during the19th to 20th centuries, would be concentrated in the cities.

The emergence of the proletariat was further fuelled by the by the demographic changes in England as population increased in the rural areas which resulted in net migration of the rural folks into towns in search of employment. Natural rate of increase and social mobility according Mikkelsen (1996:6) resulted in the outward movement of thousands of people most of them proletarian from rural areas to urban centres according to Tilly, natural increase have played the major role in the growth of the European proletariat since 1500, and especially since 1800 the growing number of the proletariat was as a result of the growth of the capitalism the proto-industrialization according to Mikkelsen (1996:6) in the 18th century, the growth of industrial output was primarily caused by the expansion of small scale, labour-intensive manufacture in a capitalist environment, a mode of production named proto-industrialization the development of proto- industrialization in England resulted in the created of a large labour pool which forced all the rural migrants to become wageworkers.

According to Mikkelsen (1996:6) elaborates that agrarian improvement often went hand in hand with concentration and consolidation of capitalist farms, and the accumulation of cultivated land in the hands of landlords. In some regions a growing number of smallholder were charged with increasing seigniorial dues and taxes, whereas in others they were given the choice of becoming rural labourers or abandoning agriculture. The industrialization process resulted in the creation of classes as those who were not wealthy were forced into the proletarian class in the 19th century rural industrial workers, agricultural wageworkers, tenants
and sharecroppers entered the urban world that was becoming more and more proletarianized in England. Within the 19th century or prior the nineteenth century according to Tilly (1980:8) a majority of Britain's rural population consisted of landless labourers, and that rural proletarianization continued to the mid-nineteenth this prompted the landless labourers to became wage labourers in the growing industrialized sector with England.

The growth of capitalism led to the stratification of the society in England as classes emerged in the England economy. The industrialization period in the growth of capitalism in the 18th century and 19th century marked the transition from agricultural based economies to technological based economies. Capitalist ambitions to control the means of production led to the formation of a class that depended on wages. In conclusion the growth of capitalism led to the formation of classes in England thus the bourgeois class and the proletariat class.

Dobb M 2007. Studies in the development of capitalism. Routledge paperback .London: United Kingdom

Stilwell F 2006, Political Economy: The Contest of Economic Ideas, Second Edition Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

IN SEARCH OF A S YNTHESIS accesed on 28/04/2010 International Institute of Social History


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