Transitions post-feudalism

What other economic systems besides capitalism were considered towards the end of feudalism or was capitalism the only major alternative thought of at the time?

Do you believe capitalism was a necessary evil in order for society to progress away from slavery and feudalism or can you imagine us having skipped over capitalism and gone right into a more egalitarian socialist society without the Lord:Serf, Master:Slave or Employer:Employee dichotomy?

Thank you so much for everything you do, Professor. I love the Economic Update and I am forever indebted to you for all of the content you have made and continue to make available to the public.

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  • Maria Carnemolla-Mania
    responded with submitted 2018-04-05 13:00:01 -0400
  • Rob Gamer Jr
    commented 2018-01-01 16:30:31 -0500
    Thank you, Nicholas. I really appreciate your thoughtful response.
  • Nicholas Anderson
    commented 2017-12-29 23:12:38 -0500
    Hello Rob,

    Just a couple thoughts,

    Mercantilism is worth mentioning as an alternative theory although it was mainly a system that governed global trade rather than domestic economics. As a matter of fact, mercantilism and its partner imperialism defined the economic exploitation and development of the America’s. This exploitation inspired the American Revolution and of course the Declaration of Independence. Soon after the same ideology permeated the death knell of french feudalism; liberty, fraternity and equality. So in actuality Mercantilism and Feudalism existed concurrently. While Marx argued that capitalism was the successor to feudalism, capitalists, such as Adam Smith discussed capitalism as a successor to mercantilism. Mercantilism and capitalism are not mutually exclusive however, as the US’s relationship with Puerto Rico shows.

    The idea that capitalism is a necessary evil is actually the crux of the two stage theory, which a fundamental aspect of Stalinism. Basically the theory goes that Socialism can’t come into existence without the industrial and technological development that capitalism(arguably) facilitates. It is important to note that the influence of this theory helped lead to the state managed capitalism and to the formation of the USSR that we are more or less familiar with today. It could be argued that the failure here was not the theory itself, but the implementation of the transitional phase from private to public hands which simply resulted in an entirely new ruling class rather than the creation of a classless society.
  • Rob Gamer Jr
    published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2017-12-23 18:09:42 -0500