A reading list for Anthony

snedeker snedeker at SPAMconcentric.net
Fri Nov 24 14:26:03 MST 2000

now, this discussion is getting interesting. the emergence of capitalism is
not just a question of facts, but also their interpretation. further, there
are the hidden assumptions one makes about our world today. what I mean here
is the role of eurocentrism. in Wood's analysis, the debate remains English.
people like Amin are not part of this debate. I like Blaut's argument about
the role of the plunder of the "new world" in the generation of the
capitalist mode of production. no, it is not the last word. I also like
Amin's argument about the transformation from the tributary to the
capitalist modes of production that Louis makes reference to.

when we tell the story of the rise of capitalism, it is important to keep
our eyes on both the role of industrial and agricultural capitalism in
England and the role of England in the their colonial project, which
includes the slave trade and the plantation economies of the "new world."
----- Original Message -----
From: Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Friday, November 24, 2000 3:05 PM
Subject: Re: A reading list for Anthony

> Yoshie:
> >Yes, but you know I'm not convinced of the late & lamented Jim
> >Blaut's idea that it all happened because of "Europe's proximity to
> >the New World."  Well, geography of the world -- as far as relative
> >positions of what came to be known as Europe & the New World
> >respectively are concerned -- changed little from the beginning of
> >recorded history to now, so why in 1492, and not much earlier or much
> >later?
> I have trouble understanding your question, but let me try to explain
> on what I assume you are asking. In the period covered by Janet
> Abu-Lughod--from 1250 to 1350--there was very little difference between
> Europe, Asia and North Africa from a social and economic standpoint. If
> anything, Europe was a country cousin to the more advanced societies to
> East.
> However, Europe in relation to the New World was qualitatively more
> advanced. The tributary societies to the South, including the Incan and
> Aztec empires were much more rudimentary in terms of nascent commodity
> production. They had much more in common with the Europe of 500 years
> Meanwhile, to the north tribes of indigenous peoples still existed on
> age or hunting and gathering techniques. So Europe faced a much weaker
> adversary. Add to this the susceptibility to diseases such as measles and
> smallpox and you have a holocaust in the making.
> In the south you had the wholesale extirpation of millions of
> that remained worked as slaves in the silver and gold mines, which went to
> enrich Europe. In the north the conquest of peoples such as the Pequot
> (celebrated by the settlers in the early thanksgiving dinners) led to the
> availability of land for cash crop cultivation. The pilgrims were early
> capitalist farmers and nothing else.
> All this is abc. It only becomes problem when you are a middle-class
> radical like Robert Brenner who has as much aversion to discussing the
> pillage of the third world as a cat has to a bubble bath.
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org/

More information about the Marxism mailing list