Rakesh Bhandari rakeshb at
Sat Sep 13 17:09:02 MDT 2003

dms, I have tried to speak to your post here.

1. Inikori argues that mercantilism creates political obstacles to
the growth of integrated European markets, not that it eliminates
them. Those obstacles were of course broken down by British control
over tropical products (see below).  Exactly because Holland is tied
into politically restricted, if not feudal, European markets which
were stagnant in the latter half of the 17th century its agrarian
revolution does not issue into a full scale industrial revolution.
Agrarian capitalism is simply not a sufficient condition for the
industrial revolution.

2. Inikori argues that England-- unlike Spain, Portugal, Holland and
France--came to dominate the dynamic Atlantic trade based on slavery
for several reasons other than England's hardly unique agrarian
change. Inikori discusses British maritime and commercial dominance
in last paragraph of the article on which you are commenting, and in
his book he cites Phyllis Deane who points to Britain's unique set of
incentives to succeed in this general European drive for trading
opportunities outside Europe and thus develop its naval power--Deane
points to the small size of Britain, the limited range of its natural
resources and its genographical location. See Inikori, p. 112. The
dominance of the American trade then allowed British merchants to
expand their trade trade with Europe on the basis of tropic products
that could not be produced in Europe and yet had developed quickly to
become near necessities among a large population of European
consumers. For Deane this is the context in which technical change in
18th century England occured.

3. You argue that the mass markets come from Europe and to have been
growing before slave plantations were established to service them.
But you're not making contact with Inikori's arguments: first, the
industrial revolution does not according to him grow in response to
the market demand created by agrarian prosperity in the south of
England (this is a frontal challenge to the Brenner/Wood thesis);
second, he argues that to capture extant, not explosively growing,
market demand in Europe, economies of scale had to be achieved in the
Americas which in turn required large labor forces and eventually the
enslavement of Africans on permanent hereditary basis and their cruel
limitless commercial exploitation.

4. I don't get your last point. Inikori seems to be arguing that the
markets for the putting out system in the south of England
(highlighted by Robert Albritton as the paradigmatic enterprise of
early capitalism) did not lead to the development of industrial
capitalism. The market for such mfgs was not strong and stagnating.

If I have missed the point of your criticisms, please inform me.

Thanks, Rakesh

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