Capitalism as slavery and colonialism

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Thu Oct 26 20:25:46 MDT 2000

>  >The view that the emergence of capitalist social relations _cannot_
>>be explained by the growth of commerce & trade, slavery &
>>colonialism, and/or neo-Malthusian factors _alone_ is _not_ the same
>>as a "proposition that capitalism arose in England purely as a
>>consequence of internal factors uninfluenced by colonialism and
>I am sorry, Yoshie. I am going by what Ellen Meiksins wrote, not what you
>believe. She is quite specific--and Ricardo has been backing up--that
>capitalism arose in rural England during the decline of feudalism. It was
>tied to the emergence of tenant farming. It PRECEDED colonialism and
>slavery. Read the passage from Woods that I just posted here. It is VERY
>SPECIFIC. Maybe you are changing your mind about the kind of extremism
>found in Wood's book (perhaps without having read it). That would be a step
>forward and something I would applaud.
>Louis Proyect

No one -- including Brenner & Wood -- says that the rise of
capitalism _preceded_ colonialism and slavery -- the conquest of the
so-called New World began in 1492, and the drawn-out process of class
conflicts & class formations that Wood, Brenner, etc. discuss
occurred, _not in the style of linear Progress_, between the 15th &
18th centuries (the main point being differential outcomes of the
General Crisis in _the 17th century_, with many nations still trapped
in what is called the Malthusian pattern while England & Holland
escaping the crisis _relatively_ unscathed); to repeat, Wood never
makes an argument that "tenant farming in rural England _preceded_
colonialism and slavery" which you attribute to her.  Did Ricardo say
so?  If he did, I missed it (I don't read all his posts).  Anyhow,
why trust his interpretation, when he has been one of the most
unashamed "Eurocentrists" on this list?

BTW, where did you get the idea of "extremism"?  From the beginning,
I have been explicitly arguing for a synthesis of Brenner & Williams,
both of whom suitably qualified, which, as I said, should constitute
a properly knowing return to Marx.  I don't find "extremism" in
Wood's account either; she's simply defending the _specificity_ of
historical materialism as theory from empiricist investigations (the
sort of distinction that Marx highlights in _Grundrisse_ and
_Capital_ in his critique of political economy & commodity fetishism).


More information about the Marxism mailing list