Rob Bryer

Publication Date



A major debate neglected by accounting historians is the importance of landlords in the English agricultural revolution. The paper uses accounting evidence from the historical literature to test Marx's theory that, from around 1750, England's landlords played a pivotal role by adopting and then spreading the capitalist mentality and social relations by enclosures and changes in the management of their estates and tenants. It gives an accounting interpretation of Marx's theory of rent and argues that the available evidence supports his view that the conversion of English landlords to capitalism underlay the later stages of the agricultural revolution. The conclusion explains the linkages in Marx's theory between the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and calls on accounting historians to conduct archival research into the agricultural roots of modern capitalism.



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