During the 1950s and 1960s a distinguished generation of Marxist and neo-Malthusian scholars led by M.M.Postan (1973), Wilhelm Abel (1935), Ernest Labrousse (1933), Fernand Braudel (1982-84, Volume 2), Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie (1966), Maurice Dobb (1946), and Rodney Hilton (1975; also Bois 1984) established the view-later to be enshrined as the so-called ‘Brenner debate’ (Aston and Philpin 1985)—that pre-modern, ‘traditional’ societies did not undergo significant long-run intensive per capita economic growth for lack of technological innovation. This view is now increasingly being challenged, and from two directions. First, earlier claims that pre-industrial agrarian technology was incapable of keeping food output in step with rising population are now viewed as too pessimistic, in the light of a growing body of archaeological and archival research that shows that the available agricultural techniques could produce much higher yields than was formerly believed. Second, historians are taking more cognisance of developments in rural by-employment and ‘proto-industry’, and of improvements in market organization and trade that earlier generations had largely ignored.