Jim Blaut on Euro Marxism

Workers World / Chicago wwchi at SPAMwwa.com
Mon Aug 2 21:29:51 MDT 1999

Ulhas wrote:
>>The share of agriculture, forestry and fishing in India's GDP has come
>>to 26.2 % in 1996-97. Compare this with the corresponding  55.4 % share of
these sectors
>>in 1950-51. Where is the socalled stagnation or underdevelopment?

Proyect responded by giving some U.N. statistics showing India at 139th of
174 countries in various
quality-of-life indicators.

BOTH of you guys are going to have to clarify your positions some.  Ulhas, I
don't know whether you're arguing against Blaut or against the
"EuroMarxists" whom Blaut is attacking.  If you're arguing in favor of the
"globalization" hypothesis and taking the position that things in India are
not much different than in the rest of the capitalist world, you will have
to present more evidence than that.  "Stagnation" is not the same thing as
"underdevelopment."  The fact that the agricultural share of the GDP has
gone down over the last 45 years is proof that things are not the same as
they were in 1950, but on the other hand about 2 or 3 % of the U.S. work
force is in agriculture, fishing, and forestry.  There can be substantial
differences between India and the imperialist world even in the absence of

LPr, low quality-of-life is not synonymous with "stagnation" or
"underdevelopment" either.  The idea that industrialization is (everywhere)
synonymous with "good living" is a very Eurodiffusionist idea which I don't
think you believe anyway.  One of the features of global imperialism today
is that places like Indonesia or Thailand or India can experience a LOT of
industrialization (the existence of factories producing goods for the world
market) while the wage level remains terribly low, exploitation is intense,
and the quality of life remains stagnant or even gets worse.  (Galeano
argued that the people of Latin America were consuming fewer calories/day
than before the European conquest, if I'm not mistaken.)  Of course this is
not news to you.  My only point is that if your figures are meant to
undercut Ulhas's point, they don't quite.

A glance at Blaut's article convinces me that it's very valuable and dense
and will take some work to assimilate, which is of course what can be
expected from Blaut.  However, I will find it very difficult to forgive him
for making some points about slavery which I was toying with the idea of
publishing someday myself.  I have been thinking for YEARS that this notion
of "slave society" as an independent "stage" of development preceding
feudalism is insupportable on the basis of the evidence.  Now, JUST because
he actually wrote down his thoughts, codified them, included citations to
the literature, and published them, instead of musing about them as I have,
HE has priority of publication.  Is this fair, I ask you :-(

Louis Paulsen

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