Robert Brenner

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Robert Paul Brenner
Born (1943-11-28) November 28, 1943 (age 75)[1]
Occupation Scholar, professor
Known for Brenner debate
Awards Guggenheim Fellowship (1977)
Academic background
Education Ph.D.
Alma mater Princeton University
Thesis Commercial change and political conflict : the merchant community in civil war London[3] (1970)
Doctoral advisor Lawrence Stone[2]
Academic work
Discipline Historian and economist
Sub-discipline TudorStuart England specialist
Institutions University of California, Los Angeles[1]
Notable students Gopal Balakrishnan
Main interests Early Modern European History

Robert Paul Brenner (/ˈbrɛnər/; born November 28, 1943) is a professor emeritus of history and director of the Center for Social Theory and Comparative History at UCLA,[4] editor of the socialist journal Against the Current, and editorial committee member of New Left Review. His research interests are Early Modern European History; economic, social and religious history; agrarian history; social theory/Marxism; and TudorStuart England.[1]

He has contributed to a debate among Marxists on the "Transition from Feudalism to Capitalism," [5] emphasizing the importance of the transformation of agricultural production in Europe, especially in the English countryside, rather than the rise of international trade as the main cause of the transition.[6] His influential 1976 article on "Agrarian class structure and economic development in pre-industrial Europe" set forth the controversial "Brenner thesis."[7] He argued that smallholding peasants had strong property rights and had little incentive to give up traditional technology or go beyond local markets, and thus no incentive toward capitalism.

In the spring of 2017, Brenner and Vivek Chibber assumed editorial duties and co-launched the academic journal Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy, with the assistance of Jacobin Magazine.[8]

Books and publications

  • 1976: Robert, Brenner. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-Industrial Europe". Published by Past and Present. JSTOR 650345.
  • 1993: Merchants and revolution : commercial change, political conflict, and London's overseas traders, 1550–1653 (Princeton, Princeton University Press) ISBN 0-691-05594-7
  • 2002: The boom and the bubble : the US in the world economy (New York, Verso) ISBN 1-85984-636-X
  • 2006: The economics of global turbulence : the advanced capitalist economies from Long Boom to Long Downturn, 1945–2005 (New York, Verso) ISBN 978-1-85984-730-5
  • 2009: Property and progress : the historical origins and social foundations of self-sustaining growth (London, Verso) ISBN 978-1-84467-318-6


  1. ^ a b c d Brenner, Robert Paul (June 2007). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). University of California Los Angeles College - Social Sciences. University of California Los Angeles. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  2. ^ Brenner, Robert (1993). Merchants and Revolution: Commercial Change, Political Conflict, and London's Overseas Traders, 1550-1653. Princeton: Princeton University Press. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0691055947.
  3. ^ Brenner, Robert Paul (1970). Commercial change and political conflict : the merchant community in civil war London (Ph.D.). Princeton University. OCLC 49370299. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  4. ^ Center for Social Theory and Comparative History (CSTCH) Home Page
  5. ^ The Brenner Debate: Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe. Editors: T. H. Aston, Trevor Henry Aston, C. H. E. Philpin. Contributors: R. H. Hilton, Robert Brenner, M. M. Postan, John Hatcher, Patricia Croot, David Parker, Heide Wunder, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, Guy Bois, J. P. Cooper, Arnost Klima. Past and Present Publications. Cambridge University Press, 1987.
  6. ^ Denemark, Robert A.; Thomas, Kenneth P. (March 1988). "The Brenner-Wallerstein Debate". International Studies Quarterly. 32 (1): 47–65. doi:10.2307/2600412. JSTOR 2600412. The world-systems perspective put forward by Immanuel Wallerstein has elicited a great deal of critical comment. Its stress on a system level of analysis and the importance it attaches to trade have not, however, gone unchallenged. ... Robert Brenner's "The Origins of Capitalist Development: A Critique of Neo-Smithian Marxism" (New Left Review, 1977) is a complex Marxist critique of the first of Wallerstein's world-system volumes
  7. ^ Brenner, Robert. "Agrarian Class Structure and Economic Development in Pre-industrial Europe". Past and Present 70 (1976), pp. 30–74
  8. ^ "Announcing Catalyst". Jacobin Magazine. Jacobin Magazine. May 4, 2017. Retrieved June 10, 2017.

External links

  • "Dobb on the Transition From Feudalism to Capitalism". Cambridge Journal of Economics, 1978, 2, 121-140
  • "The economy after the boom: a diagnosis", International Viewpoint, 342, July/August 2002.
  • The origins of capitalism (with Chris Harman). International Socialism Issue 111, 3 July 2006.
  • "Structure vs. Conjuncture: The 2006 elections and the rightward shift". New Left Review. New Left Review. II (43): 48. January–February 2007.
  • "Devastating Crisis Unfolds", Against the Current, 132, January/February 2008.
  • "The Economy in a World of Trouble", International Viewpoint, 411, April 2009.
  • "What is Good for Goldman Sachs is Good for America - The Origins of the Present Crisis" (October 2, 2009). Center for Social Theory and Comparative History. Paper 2009–11.
  • "Robert Brenner: The Consequences of Dependence on Asset Price Bubbles" (April 8, 2010). Rethinking Capitalism Conference. University Center, UC Santa Cruz
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