Ellen Meiksins Wood versus Karl Marx

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Wed Nov 1 20:00:38 MST 2000

>On Wed, 1 Nov 2000, Louis Proyect wrote:
>>  geography. There was ZERO difference between China, Japan and India from a
>>  class relations standpoint but Japan managed to fend off attacks from
>>  outside colonial powers because of her island status and rather formidable
>>  feudal military prowess.
>I don't buy this. Japan did have a significantly different social
>structure than China or India: massive urbanization (Tokyo was already one
>of the biggest cities in the world by 1800), sophisticated structures of
>mercantile accumulation, major mining and smelting operations (the
>forerunners of the Mitsui and Sumitomo zaibatsu), and a cash-conscious
>gentry, all long before the arrival of Admiral Perry. There's a reason
>that Japan managed to keep the West out for so long, while China failed:
>the forces of production of Japan *were* more advanced than those of the
>rest of Asia, and the relations of production were flexible enough to
>allow for the Tokugawa industrialization drive, something with no
>equivalent in 19th century China or India. The differences weren't huge,
>of course, but they were enough to give Japan the edge it needed to start
>colonizing its neighbors, sort of the way Britain had just the slight edge
>it needed to take the lead over continental Europe.
>-- Dennis

Setting aside everything else, let me ask one question -- what is
meant by "mercantile accumulation" in the period of *Sakoku*???


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