“…The Theory of Capitalist Development was not only an introduction to Marxian economics and a transmission of a theoretical tradition. Sweezy also initially formulated there his general theory of capitalist stagnation. It is a theory which has been offered to explain not only the Depression conditions of its origin but also the postwar boom (the “Golden Age”) and the subsequent crisis of the 1970s and 1980s.”
—Michael A. Lebowitz, Monthly Review
“Marx did not mean that by some magic the achievements of a whole epoch could be crammed into a single revolutionary decree. He did not claim that Feudalism could be made to pass into Capitalism or Capitalism into Socialism overnight. He meant only that gradual and continuous modications of a system could develop only within certain definite limits—limits imposed by the class-structure of that system itself. To transform that system into its opposite required the prior occurrence of a set of changes—a set which had to be treated as an organic whole. is organic set consisted of those social relations which composed the mode of production. A change in them at some stage required a revolutionary transformation in the balance of class power; these sharp bouleversements composing, as it were, steep and narrow (often precipitous) watersheds between more gently undulating valleys on either side of them.”
—Maurice Dobb, Lecture at Cambridge, 1942
An introductory seminar on some leading theories of Capitalist Development. We will read Maurice Dobb’s Studies in the Development of Capitalism (1946); Paul Sweezy’s Theory of Capitalist Development (1942); and Michel Aglietta’s A Theory of Capitalist Regulation: The US Experience (1978). Close engagements with these texts will serve to highlight what is still relevant in these theoretical and historical formulations. Other texts may be part of our collective agenda depending upon how we relate with these readings.
Dr. Ganesh Trichur has taught courses in global political economy at different liberal arts colleges in the US such as Long Island University (NY), St. Lawrence University (NY), and at Bates College (Maine), and has also taught at Renmin University, Beijing, China. He is the editor of Asia and the Transformation of the World System; he has published several articles on neoliberalism, globalization, the implications of Hurricane Katrina, internal migration in China, and East Asian regional dynamics.