Habib, Capitalism in History

Nicholas Siemensma nsiemensma at yahoo.com.au
Fri Jul 4 00:37:19 MDT 2003

Les, my questions weren't specifically in response to
Habib's article, which I haven't read for years. 
David Schanoes had commented that American mineral
wealth was only important to the emergence of
industrial capitalism because of prior transformations
in English agrarian relations.  My response was that
the logic of those very tranformations had a long
history and was itself shaped and moulded by England's
participation since ancient times in a longstanding
international division of labour which connected
Eurasia.  One of the main commodities of this
world-system was textiles, and this was the objective
and material context in which surface events in the
"English countryside" was embedded.   

I agree we should keep it simple, and didn't want to
drag out all this other stuff.  My basic point was
that the determining last-instance in the emergence of
capitalism was the *imperialist* world-system:
imperialism was present as the formative influence
from the beginning and is determinant now.  That
entails a certain kind of politics and not others,
which is of course the reason for this whole debate.


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