[PEN-L:3356] Russell R. Menard on Eric Williams

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Fri Oct 20 20:23:13 MDT 2000


>While I am not yet persuaded that this debate is entirely settled, it
>is worth noting that the debate over this particular Williams thesis
>depends on an especially narrow reading of Williams. 18 Stanley
>Engerman, who led the attack on the notion that the profits of the
>slave trade were crucial to England's industrialization, exhibits a
>good deal of discomfort with his narrow reading of Williams, and well
>he should, for I suggest Engerman does not engage Williams' main
>point.

So Engerman led the attack on the notion that the profits of the slave
trade were crucial to England's industrialization. Hmmm. Haven't I heard
that before? Can't seem to put my finger on it. Meanwhile, he also believes
that the slave plantation system, with its high efficiency and attention to
profits, led to a fat and happy slave workforce. The more time I spend
researching this type of garbage, the more convinced I am that the academy
generates reactionary ideology, no matter the idealism that young scholars
start out with. Both Engerman and Genovese started out as new leftists.
What turned them into such pigs? Tenure? McLaren writes "No tenure, no
peace." Maybe the slogan should be "No tenure, no intellectual treason."

Louis Proyect
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