dmschanoes at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 14 14:08:25 MDT 2003
Perhaps it isn't clear from my posts, but I actually read Inikori's lecture,
3 or 4 times, trying to sort out his argument, give it some sort of
chronology, which isn't easy, believe me, and which he, despite stating his
focus on the period 1650-1850, expands to include the 14, 15, 16, centuries.
His arguments just aren't very clear to me, thus as I said, my responses
were formulated as questions for further inquiry, not positions.
And I really think Inikori plays a little fast and loose with signifcance of
mercantilism and the restriction on trading opportunities for ALL of
Europe. Perhaps I'm alone in this. Maybe everybody else found Inikori's
arguments to be absolutely transparent and of immediate clarity. Maybe we
should take a survey. Maybe we should build a fire, sing a few songs, how
about that? Sorry, wrong movie.
I do not discount for a second the importance of enslaved African labor to
the development of British capitalism. But Inikori leaves out something of
equal importance to that development, and something of perhaps more
importance to the improvement in the productive process of the "home
country," and that is the cotton trade, the cotton trade with India. This
trade certainly accelerated the division of labor within cotton
fabric/textile/clothing manufacturing and was accompanied by the
transformation of that production from a cottage industry to a collective
factory-type basis, well ahead of the woolen industry.
For me the issue is as I described it earlier-- trade in and of itself does
not seem to me to contain the critical force necessary to revolutionize the
social relations of production. In the actual development of British
capitalism obviously that revolutionary social relationship does not exist
in hermetic containment-- indeed it cannot, it has to "go forth and
multiply." And I think it is that compulsion, based on the separation of
the means of production from the laborers, based on the dispossession of the
population from the land, a compulsion for realizing surplus that gives,
breathes so to speak, the historical importance into the global
expropriation of the values and products from east and west.
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