A reading list for Anthony

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at SPAMosu.edu
Fri Nov 24 15:24:16 MST 2000



Lou:

>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 based
>on what I assume you are asking.

That is exactly the problem & has been the problem in "debates" here
and elsewhere.  George Snedeker mentioned:

>now, this discussion is getting interesting. the emergence of capitalism is
>not just a question of facts, but also their interpretation.

I concur.  I'm not at all asking for or offering more empirical
facts; at the level of facts, I believe we have no disagreement.

I'm saying that Marxist explanation _shouldn't be circular_.  The
emergence of chattel slavery (as opposed to pre-modern slavery)
cannot be explained by descriptions of chattel slavery; nor can the
emergence of modern colonialism (as opposed to old tributary empires)
be explained by descriptions of modern colonialism.

In explanation, the empirical phenomenon A has to be explained not by
a re-description of A but by an analysis of the generative
mechanism(s) of A, meaning _something other than A_.  To _describe_ A
and to _explain the cause(s) of_ A are not the same.

Substitute chattel slavery for A.
Substitute modern colonialism for A.

To describe chattel slavery is not the same as to explain the cause
of chattel slavery.
To describe modern colonialism is not the same as to explain the
cause of modern colonialism.

Yoshie







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