[Marxism] n+1: Response to Vivek Chibber

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 9 15:23:08 MST 2014

Taking a good look at the shape of world power, Marxists have naturally 
wanted to know why capitalism took such divergent paths in different 
regions—how inequality at a world scale was established and how it has 
been perpetuated since. No one in this debate thinks the answer is 
culture. But cultural differences are what Chibber wants to talk about, 
and apparently all he wants to talk about. So he mentions dependency 
theory and world-systems theory (on page 292 of a 296 page book) but 
doesn’t engage with them; the names Samir Amin, Immanuel Wallerstein, 
and Giovanni Arrighi don’t even appear in his index. Let me say it 
again: the kind of diversity I wanted him to address but didn’t find in 
his book is economic diversity, which is to say the inequality between 
people in poor countries and in rich countries. It’s all very well to 
say that we all belong to the same basic history, but (to repeat myself) 
if you can’t also explain why IKEA capitalism looks so different from 
Rana Plaza capitalism, then as a sociologist you’re not doing your job, 
and as a Marxist you’re making Marxism look simple-minded, irrelevant, 
and unappealing.

full: http://nplusonemag.com/response-to-vivek-chibber

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