Capitalism as slavery and colonialism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Oct 26 07:55:00 MDT 2000

>Is your argument that, but for the plague, Spain would have remained
>the foremost empire (vanquishing the Dutch & the British); retained &
>expanded its hegemony over the so-called New World; & been the first
>to undergo the so-called Industrial Revolution later???  If so, I'd
>recommend, for instance, _A Journal of the Plague Year_ by Daniel
>Defoe (1722), an account of the Great Plague of London in 1664-65.
>It might provide an interesting point of comparison between Spanish &
>British responses to the plague, though the significance of the
>plague in an explanation for the origins of capitalism, in my humble
>opinion, is marginal at best.
>Now, it seems that we are very far from the synthesis of Maurice
>Dobbs & Paul Sweezy, Robert Brenner & Eric Williams!  What happened
>to _Capitalism & Slavery_???

My argument will be forthcoming after I've had a chance to read the book I
cited, which is a compilation of essays by economic historians--mostly
Spanish--who have launched a deeper investigation into 16th century history
based on the availability of new archival material. As I've already told
Jim Devine, my style is not to have retort against retort ad infinitum on
email lists. I like to do my reading and write longish posts of the size
that would go into scholarly journals. I only wish that some other people
would have the patience and the discipline to follow suit. It would make
for a more coherent debate. As far as the plague is concerned, I was merely
commenting on the fact that the man you cited as an expert completely
omitted this fact when writing about the depopulation of Castile. This for
me would be like writing about African demographics in the year 2000
without mentioning AIDS.

Louis Proyect
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