Destruction or Persistence? New Perspectives on the Relationship between Feudalism and Capitalism

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This essay is a short but impacting observation of the economy of the Middle Ages in light of recent economic historians’ discoveries: not only are some conventional beliefs such as the absence of a financial and trading economy of the period discredited, but a more nuanced view of feudalism also emerges from such revelations. The new, groundbreaking work of Michael McCormick is pitted against Henri Pirenne’s classic theory; in addition, seminal works by Marc Bloch, S.R. Epstein, and lesser known work by Aron Gurevich provide a more authentic view of Middle-Age economy. Finally, contrary to Marxist historiography, this essay postulates that to some extent feudalism fomented the development of capitalism.
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