[PEN-L:3358] Re: Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams

Carrol Cox cbcox at SPAMilstu.edu
Fri Oct 20 20:49:46 MDT 2000




Louis Proyect wrote:

> the notion that the profits of the
> >slave trade were crucial to England's industrialization,

I can't claim any familiarity with the details of this debate. It is worth
being aware of an analytical possibility, however. It is altogether possible
that the slave trade could be central to English industrialization --
regardless of whether the profits from that trade were central or not. A core
point is that *nations* do not make profits or accrue losses -- individuals,
firms, groups, etc. do. Hence the total returns of X to a *nation* are not
necessarily relevant to the question of the importance of X.

There are good arguments to the effect that if one examines India and England
as *totalities*, an actually irrelevant perspective, India "cost" England far
more than England ever gained from India.
Nevertheless it is obvious that India was crucial to the rise of English
capital and English global power.

Carrol







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