[Marxism] Re Pomeranz

robert montgomery ilyenkova at gmail.com
Sun Oct 9 11:45:07 MDT 2005


Louis writes:
"I thought that Pomeranz's central assertion is that England leapfrogged
China because it had coal.
In any case, the main problem with the Brenner thesis is that it has failed
to answer Blaut's main criticism, namely that the rise of European
capitalism was intimately linked with the massive transfer of value from
the Americas after 1492, a point made by Marx in "Genesis of the Industrial
Capitalist" for that matter."

Yes, the "coal" thing made my eyes pop. It sounds as if Pomeranz has lots of
interesting stuff in this work, but overall it's unsatisfactory for the
reasons Fred cites-- an excessive desire to stress similiarities to the
point of devaluing significant historical differences. Louis' point above is
key i think. I'm still a fan of the Williams thesis on the significance of
the transfer of slave produced surplus from the colonial sugar isles as a
key impetus to the accumulation of industrial capital in England.
Especially, the direct link between the holders of this wealth and the
development of Watt's steam engine. Also, the whole Triangle Trade nexus
transferred more than just surplus capital and cotton from the sugar isles.
With the power of the British fleet behind it, the mercantilist
transAtlantic system transferred commodity wealth like tobacco, timber,
pitch, cordage etc. And of course there was the trade in slaves. Abundant
coal??
Bob Montgomery



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