Rakesh Bhandari rakeshb at
Sun Sep 14 12:24:31 MDT 2003

dms writes:

>Comrade, you better check yourself here because 1.  In from Columbus
>to Castro and Capitalism and Slavery Williams is exactly arguing for
>the importance of slavery to the emergence of industrial capitalism

Yes, I mis-spoke in a hurried reply. I should have said that Williams
is actually more concerned in this book in the analysis of abolition.
In fact the thesis on which the book was on abolition.
As Inikori notes, only 35 or so pp. (I thought it was 30pp) of C and
S is devoted to the direct contribution by Africans to the Industrial
Revolution (chs 3 and 5). I have never read from Columbus to Castro.
The point remains that you said that Inikori is doing at best nothing
new while Inikori himself is explicitly going beyond Williams'
argument. That is, you expressed hostility which prevents even trying
to understand what Inikori is arguing.

Inikori writes in the third paragraph of the article on which you
were commenting:

Over half a century ago, Eric Williams had attempted to show the
contribution of Africans on the basis of profits from the slave trade
and slavery, and the employment of those profits to finance England's
industrialization process.[7]This well known Williams thesis has been
attacked repeatedly since it first appeared in 1944.[8] I have shown
elsewhere that the British slave trade was more profitable than the
critics of Williams would want us to believe, but argued at the same
time that the emphasis on profits is misplaced.[9] I believe the
contribution of Africans to the transformation of England's economy
and society between 1650 and 1850 would be best demonstrated in terms
of the role of the slave-based Atlantic World economy in the
transformation process. This paper presents a summary of my attempt
to date in that direction.

For further research here are the cites:

For a historical perspective to the debate, see Joseph E. Inikori,
"Capitalism and Slavery, Fifty Years After: Eric Williams and the
Changing Explanations of the Industrial Revolution," in Heather
Cateau and S. H. H. Carrington (eds.), Capitalism and Slavery, Fifty
Years Later: Eric Williams 3/4A Reassessment of the Man and His Work
(New York: Peter Lang, 2000), pp. 51-80.
[9] Joseph E. Inikori, "Market Structure and the Profits of the
British African Trade in the Late Eighteenth Century," Journal of
Economic History, Vol. XLI, No. 4 (December, 1981).


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