Mandel - transition

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Sun Nov 9 01:00:47 MST 2003

Renato wrote:

May I say that these "data" are money-based and so colonial plunder appears
of lessened importance in relation to the material importance they had in
the history of capitalism? Why do English workers drink tea anyway, at cheap
prices that appear as unimportant in their diet?


To a large extent the discussions about the origins of capitalism are
ideological; the Left wants to argue mainly plunder and expropriation, the
Right wants to separate plunder and barbarism as unique acts from the
development of "decent capitalism". The origins of European capitalism were
both endogenous and exogenous, involving both local accumulation of capital
through expropriation and gradual industrial development, and accumulation
of capital from overseas through legitimate trade, plunder and slavery. It
was mainly the Spanish and the Portuguese who initially plundered Latin
America, but the wealth they looted, did not in fact lead to a cumulative,
continually broadening industrialisation in Spain and Portugal at that time
(in the epoch of mercantile capitalism). In fact the Portuguese for instance
were looted by the British in their turn, as Gunder Frank describes. I think
the date which Patrick provides are relevant but whether they tell the whole
story is another thing, I don't know that yet.

Tea is a refreshing beverage.


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