I don't think so. The move towards a society/state less dependent on serfdom or slavery in the early modern era did not result in a shrinking population or a less economically productive population.Jub wrote: ↑2019-02-06 08:32pmObviously, in more fertile regions things will look different than classical western feudalism. The concept of serfdom is only important where it takes 80% or more of your population working to feed your society. In areas where crop fertility is high or you have a better base grain than wheat (Eygpt, the Fertile Crescent, China) you're going to see different social structures emerge because the food is less important.
That level of fertility is almost akin to a new technology and would obviously make for a more progressive society.
That itself is dependent on how strong the central authority is. The weaker the central authority were, the more influential local elites become. But this also means that the stronger central authority become, the local elites would have far less influence as well.Even if the lord wasn't ultimately the judge his power would heavily influence which laws were passed and enforced. The powerful in any society have an outsized role in forming policy that's just that nature of society.
You are creating a model that is far too simplistic and wrong in my opinion. It's a bad understanding of how complex historical civilisations can be and how they can shift with time.
The quote is about 17th century legal scholars challenging the idea of feudalism. Also, why are you restricting your assertions to periods and areas where more than 80% of population was required to farm to feed everyone? The fact that modern Europe can move beyond the state it was in the medieval period is an argument that society and agriculture production level isn't something static. It is something that can rapidly change according to different circumstances.The 17th century is well past the period I'm talking about. Technology had already begun to shift people away from the fields as less labor was required per ton of food. I'm restricting my assertion to periods and areas where 80% or more of the population was required to farm to keep everybody fed.
You seem to be subscribing to a rather marxist understanding of history, which is problematic because you are forcing history to fit into your paradigm rather than letting history speak of itself.And yet modern states rose from feudal powers and the struggle for power is part of the reason for the technological advancement of the west at a rate unmatched by other world powers. Strife, not solely caused by feudalism but which feudalism contributed to, bred advances in Europe that simply didn't happen in other regions. Then using that power Europe spread their systems all over the world as they took on the role of colonizers in a way which was unprecidented in human history.
Modern European states had a medieval past. That does not mean medievalism or "feudalism" was a necessary step for polities to evolve into modern nation states.
The European polities had been struggling for power for centuries after the breakup of the Roman empire in the West, and after the break-up of the Carolingian empire. Yet they did not really surpass the rival, more centralised empires and polities in the east in terms of development and technology until much later. I do not think feudal strife can be said to have any major influence in the development of the modern state.
The development of the modern state is more of a result of renaissance era development, in which the Italian city states ( which cannot be said to be "feudal" in my opinion) provided the template for our modern day nation-state. Again, I think you've relied far too much on sociologists who like to draw very simplified conclusions from history.
Sociology is a useful science when they stick to the modern day and not try to do historical analysis.
I disagree. Your entire case is built so heavily on the idea that there was even a feudal society in the first place, which in itself was a subject heavily debated by medieval specialists. I certainly do not believe you are capable of making a strong argument that feudalism exists and is a useful concept of explaining how societies evolve. I think you have a very euro-centric view of history, and that itself has weakened your entire argument.While one can't say that any single factor lead to the west rising to dominance for a period of centuries I'd argue that it was a large factor.
I'm not sure if you understand the meaning of taxation and how it differs from rent. Rents are for private consumption whereas taxes are meant for public consumption. Moreover, labour cannot be taxed, because labour cannot be transferred into a wider monetary exchange system. Labour in itself is useless because what matters at the end of the day is products that can be used within a much wider economy.Taxes can also be taken in the form of labor which is primarily what the feudal system extracted from the serf class. They worked the lord's lands first, then their own lands, and still they paid taxes from the produce that their land's produced. Essentially they were twice taxed first for labor and second for the product of that labor.
Taxation are meant to pay for the upkeep of the state and not the benefit of landlord. It is meant to pay for services done by people who livelihood aren't directly dependent on the land they control, but by a salary.
You keep harping about the feudal system when that itself is not something that's universal in the medieval west. To what extend are you familiar with medieval history to make a case for Bloc and argue against Elizabeth Brown and Susan Reynolds? A Manorial system is not necessarily feudal.
What you are doing now is building up your arguments on a layman's understanding of history, which in itself tends to be full of problems and issues. You've built up a neat little system that seem to explain the development of the modern nation-state, but you've done so by oversimplifying complex issues. You're trying to fit history into this theory you have created, based on your prior views of history. It is not an approach that is workable for tackling a history related subject.
I am wondering if this thread will be better suited to the history sub-forum? This is becoming more of a historical discussion rather than a moral discussions. I get what Pital is saying about this thread being full of bad history.