The mainstream view of capitalism is that it is a "natural" system that emerges almost automatically, as long as the government doesn't intervene and merely fights criminals and so forth.

But I heard David Graeber, and some other people as well I think, casually say that some sociologists (which he supports) think that capitalism was actively created and promoted by states, and would not have existed otherwise.

Do you know who formulated this perspective/theory? Graeber himself didn't say it, because he was speaking only casually (I read it somewhere in the book "Debt: the first 5000 years".

1 Answer 1


Lenin has famously analysed how the state is used as a tool in the hands of the ruling class (bourgeois) to oppress the working class and maintain capitalism at any cost.

Capitalism is not exactly a creation of the state itself. The state is controlled by the bourgeois, who in turn have historically build the capitalistic system, after the end of feudalism.

More info here:

Lenin - State and Revolution:Class Society and the State

Marx - Capital volume I: On Primitive Accumulation

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    "Capitalism is not exactly a creation of the state itself." right, so this theory is not what I am looking for. I'm looking for the theory that says that states were active creators of the capitalist mode of production. This is not what Marx says.
    – user56834
    Jun 28, 2017 at 14:52
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    The state did not create capitalism, the bourgoisie changed the state from feudal to capitalist. This (r)evolution started in the early 1700's in England continued to the French Revolution and to the middle of the 19th century.
    – MasB
    Jun 29, 2017 at 0:20

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