[Marxism] Pomeranz

Alan Bradley alanb1000 at yahoo.com
Sun Oct 9 18:44:25 MDT 2005


> CB: Voyaging there to trade does not have to include
> staying there, conquering and forming settler 
> colonies. Exploration need not include conquest and
> enslavement. The very difference we are discussing 
> is that the Chinese voyaged and traded , _but did 
> not conquer and settle_.  

I see someone else beat me to pointing out the
existence of Genghis Khan.

As far as the Chinese not conquering goes, a fair bit
of Chinese "trade" might better be described as
tribute gathering.

Furthermore, China had a long history of military
aggression on its western and northern frontiers. They
didn't just sit around in fortresses waiting to be
raided, but, instead, actively attempted to dominate
the steppes. During the Han dynasty, for example, a
Chinese army was within a day's march of the frontier
of the Roman army, and actually had orders to conquer
Rome! As it happened, the Parthians pointed out to the
Chinese just how big the Roman empire was, and
convinced the Chinese not to be attack. Chinese and
Roman (Byzantine) borders came very close to meeting
again during the Tang dynasty.

These periods of aggression were generally aimed at
creating tributary client states, rather than directly
expanding Chinese rule, but this was the usual
practice of the Romans as well. In any case, the
logistics of such an expansion would have been
prohibitive, and would have inevitably led to
fragmentation. 

I frankly don't think that using the absence of an
ideology of conquest to rationalise the failure of
China to develop capitalism is viable.


	
		
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