Capitalism from Above and Capitalism from Below

An Essay in Comparative Political Economy

  • Terence J. Byres

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. The Problematic

  3. The Prussian Path: Capitalism From Above

  4. The American Paths

  5. Some Conclusions

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 415-415
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 437-490

About this book


The distinction between 'capitalism from above' and 'capitalism from below' is important in the analysis of the agrarian question in poor countries. The 'Prussian path' and the 'American path' are here examined, against existing historical scholarship. Their unfolding, from their earliest roots to the point of final 'agrarian transition' in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is considered. The dialectic between social relations and productive forces, mediated as it was by the state, is treated and the implications for capitalist industrialisation scrutinised.


capitalism economy labour political economy population production Russia transition

Authors and affiliations

  • Terence J. Byres
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

Bibliographic information