A reading list for Anthony

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Fri Nov 24 14:11:23 MST 2000





Richard Fidler wrote:

> >His 1977 article was a seminal critique of
> >the "development/underdevelopment" theoreticians such as >Frank, Wallerstein and
> >(to some degree) Sweezy, in which he contrasted the >trade-centred view of
> >capitalist development held by the "underdevelopment" theorists >to Marx's focus
> >on changes in the internal class structure of a social formation.

Hi Richard! Can we *cite* to have a more productive debate here ? There is no such
an antagonism between "trade centered views of capitalism" and Marx's "focus on
internal class relations". This is a false dichotomy created by Brenner. They
develop dialectically, not antagonistically. After all, we are talking about
European capitalist/slave trade (colonialism), whose very existence was
*interelated* with capitalist social relations.Evidently, British colonial
administrators were part of the capitalist British empire who expropriated Africans
from their land and forced them to work in plantations in the South. The
*coexistence* of slavery with free labor was not antagonistic to capitalism. It
stood at the heart of it. The whole history of capitalism is a history of coercion,
expropriation and assimilation as Marx puts it Capital (the so called primitive
accumulation). Brennner's analysis of British capitalism contradicts Marx in such a
high degree that his logical conclusion leads us to the Berstenian view of efficacy
of capitalism via imperialism.


Furthermore, W is not a technically a development/ underdevelopment theorist. I am
saying this because he is not, according to the classification done by Brewer
(_Marxist Theories of Imperialism_), an underdevelopment theorist.  He has very many
disagreements with Frank, as his review article on Frank's _Reorient_ in the recent
publication of _Review_ suggests.  Class conflict and struggles are all there in
Wallerstein's _The Modern World System I & II_:


"Brenner admits that French landlords might have wished  to "consolodate holdings"
as much as their English conferers. But alas they coud not! for if in England the
laws permitted the landlord  to"raise rents or fines to impossible levels and thus
evict the small tenant, in France they might instead have had  "to buy up countless
small peasent holdings in order to amass  a consolidate unit".This, we are led to
infer, was an impossible  burden on French protocapitalist landlord. But we have
seen that buying up proportie,. far from being implausable, was a prime method of
concentration both in England and in France.Indeed, Brenner implicitly admits it
when he says that in France. "througout the early modern period, many peasents were
indeed forced deeply into debt and were ultimatetly obliged  to seel their
holdings". If so, then who bought these holdings? Brenner concludes that at the end
of the 17 th century "some 40-50 percent of the cultivated land was still in peasent
possesion " in France, but "no more than 25-30 percent in England". What, however,
was the percentage in Northen France? (p.90).

"What then  of the argument Brenner puts forward (and he is not alone) that it was "
the predominance of petty property ownership in France in the early modern period
which ensured long-term agricultural backwardness". We have suggested our scepticism
about both assumptions--the predominance of petty proprietorship (not true of
Northen France) and the agricultural backwardness of France relative to England
(doubtfually true of northen france, at least up to 1750) (p.89).


--

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
PhD Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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