PREFACE to REORIENT :
GLOBAL ECON0MY IN THE ASIAN AGE
[University of California Press April 1998]
by Andre Gunder Frank
There is no history but universal history -- as it really was - Leopold von Ranke
Il n'y a pas d'histoire de l'Europe, il y a une histoire du monde! - Marc Bloc
History is marked by alternating movements across the imaginary line that separates East from West in Eurasia - Herodotus
History is all things to all men .... Perhaps the most important methodological problem in the writing of history is to discover why different historians, on the basis of the same or similar evidence, often have markedly different interpretations of a particular historical event. - R.M. Hartwell
The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie - deliberate, contrived and dishonest - but the myth - persistent, persuasive and unrealistic - John F. Kennedy
ORIENT: The East; lustrous, sparkling, precious; radiant, rising, nascent; place or exactly determine position, settle or find bearings; bring into clearly understood relations; direct towards; determine how one stands in relation to one's surroundings. Turn eastward !
ReORIENT: Give new orientation to; readjust, change outlook !! - from The Concise Oxford Dictionary thank you for being so CONCISE !!!
I think authors ought to look back and give us some record of how their works developed, not because their works are important (they may turn out to be unimportant) but because we need to know more of the process of history-writing.... Writers of history are not just observers. They are themselves part of the act and need to observe themselves in action. - John King Fairbank (1969: vii)
This book pretends to turn received Eurocentric historiography and social theory upside down by using a "globological" perspective [the term is taken from Albert Bergesen (1982)]. Early modern economic history is viewed from a world encompassing global perspective. I seek to analyze the structure and dynamic of the whole world economic system itself and not only the "European [part] world-economy/system." For my argument is that we must analyze the whole, which is more than the sum of its parts, to account for the development even of any of its parts, including that of Europe. That is all the more so the case for the "Rise of the West," since it turns out that from a global perspective Asia and not Europe held center stage for most of early modern history. Therefore the most important question is less what happened in Europe than what happened in the world as a whole and particularly in its leading Asian parts. I render historical events from this much more global perspective and propose to account for "the Decline of the East" and the concomitant "Rise of the West" within the world as a whole. This procedure pulls the historical rug out from under the anti- historical/scientific - really ideological - Eurocentrism of Marx, Weber, Toynbee, Polanyi, Braudel, Wallerstein and most other contemporary social theorists.
Since writing history is part of history itself as Fairbank observes, I also follow his counsel to give the reader some record of how my work developed. I will signal only the most significant "intellectual" way stations and avoid wasting the reader's time with non-essential personalisms. Yet, I cannot avoid reference to at least some persons who -- often unintentionally! -- have lighted the way to me and to whom I wish to express my thanks in this preface.
My anthropologist friend Sid Mintz and I have been debating without end since the mid-1950s. He has said "culture matters," and I have always retorted "structure matters." My thesis was first impressed on me in the seminar with the eminent cultural anthropologist Robert Redfield, audited on the second floor of the social science building at the University of Chicago. That is where I was introduced to holism and the importance of its pursuit in social science. In the parallel graduate student coffee-time "seminar," I argued that what Redfield was missing is structure. Perhaps, I had gotten the idea the previous semesters, when I had [also] audited the visiting structural functionalist anthropologists Raymond Firth and Meyer Fortes. I say 'audited,' because I was supposed to be on the fourth floor where I was getting my PhD in the Department of Economics. Since then, the members and products of this Department and their brethren outliers in the Chicago Business and Law schools [some of them my then fellow economics graduate students] have gotten about half the Economics Nobel prizes granted in this world, among them five in the last six years. I, on the other hand, flunked my PhD exam three times in a row in inter-national economics, which was my strongest field on the fourth floor. The significance of the hyphen and the bold-face in the word following it should become evident in the present book. The previous two sentences may also offer clues to why I felt more comfortable on the second floor. However, much of the subsequent 'the personal is political' and theoretical 'intellectual' account is already related in my autobiographical Underdevelopment of Development (Frank 1991,1996). So here I can stick only to what seems most germane for the history behind this book, which pretends to re-write "history."
In 1962, I went to Latin America, armed with the names of some friends given to me by Eric Wolf, also an anthropologist -- and with his early writings on how world capitalism had intervened to form [or underdevelop] parts of Mesoamerica. In 1963 in Rio de Janeiro, I wrote On Capitalist Underdevelopment (Frank 1975); and in 1965 in Mexico I debated in a national newspaper with Rodolfo Puiggros who defended the then received wisdom that Latin America had been feudal (reprinted in Frank 1969). The 1963 manuscript had opened with a critique of received theory which in revised form was published in 1967 as "The Sociology of Development and the Underdevelopment of Sociology" (reprinted in Frank 1969). It was a scathing critique of all the theory I had received on both floors and from the library at the University of Chicago. In particular relevance to the present book, my critique was directed most of all against Weberian sociology, transmitted to my generation by Talcott Parsons (1951, 1937/49) in his mistitled The Structure of Social Action and The Social System. It was applied to the "Third World modernization theory" by my still good friend and former "mentor" Bert Hoselitz, as well as by my also friend Manning Nash and others there and elsewhere. After reading my draft, Nancy Howell advised me to keep only the "theoretical" references to them, and to take out all the many "personal" ones, which I then did. Now she again asks me to do the same in the present work, especially with regard to herself; but this time I am more reluctant to do so.
In all these and other works, I sustained that "not feudalism, but capitalism" had generated "the development of underdevelopment" in Latin America and elsewhere in the "Third World." The crucial factors in this underdevelopment, I argued, were not so much "internal" to any of its regions, let alone due to its peoples, but were generated by the structure and function of the "world system" itself, of which all were integral parts. However, I then wrote and continued to think that the "capitalist world system" was born when Columbus "discovered" America. That is why in the early 1970s in Chile I entitled a book analyzing the development of the same World Accumulation 1492-1789 (Frank 1978a). My account had reached only as far as the latter date when the 1973 military coup in Chile sent my family and me back to my birthplace in Berlin.
Events in Chile before the coup already had obliged me to jump a couple of centuries ahead to concern myself with the present world economic crisis of accumulation, an expression of which I regarded the Chilean coup itself. So that is what I then did in several books and countless articles for the next two decades. Nonetheless in the back of my mind, I kept harbouring the sneaking suspicion that if "the system" had been born in 1492, or had emerged since 1450 as Wallerstein announced, it could not have just done so suddenly like Pallas Athene out of the head of Zeus. Something before, maybe even also systemic, must have led up to the voyages of Columbus and Vasco da Gama and to the rise of the "world capitalist system."
Yet also still in Chile, I wrote a blurb for the dust-jacket of the first edition of the first volume of Immanuel Wallerstein's The Modern World-System (1974). I said that it is a rendition of "the early development of a world economy, the understanding of which is essential for the proper appreciation of all subsequent development. This book should become a classic immediately upon publication." It did! The other two dust-jacket blurbs were by Fernand Braudel and Eric Wolf. Braudel said that historians already knew that "Europe had formed a world economy around itself. What they had never thought of... [and] which characterizes I. Wallerstein's thought is that this entity [the world-system] provides a new framework for the subject of European history, that ... is compelling." Eric Wolf's blurb said that the book will become indispensable for understanding the development of the world system and that "it is a book that people will have to deal with, argue with, cite, learn by in order to make their own points, take their own departures." I cite these blurbs here because of how revealing they are for subsequent developments related below.
Some of these developments ran in several parallel strands but need not be related here, because also following Fairbank's advice, they were already signalled in the preface to my The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? (Frank and Gills 1993). Nonetheless, I wish to bring at least the following developments together in this preface, because they are also essential to an understanding of the genesis and purpose of the present book.
Eric Wolf wrote Europe and the People without History (1982) to show how they had been incorporated into the modern world-system at the cost of much of their own welfare and culture. Since his thesis is that they do have a history, he placed a question mark after the title; but the publishers didn't like it and took it off again. [Publishers never like question marks: the same thing happened to Michael Barratt Brown (1963) with his After Imperialism!, or so both authors told me]. Eric Wolf's editor, Stanley Holwitz, had invited me to referee the book for publication, but alas for family reasons I had to decline. I much appreciated the book, and not only because its introduction singled Wallerstein's and my above cited books out as the fore- runners of his own. At a public tribute to Eric at the 1990 meetings of the American Anthropological Association, I tried to set the record straight after a student had said that my work had been major influence on Wolf's: On the contrary I pointed out, Eric and his work had been the most important early influence on mine in showing me on my way to and around Latin America: It was Eric who had signalled that all this was about the world capitalist system, already in colonial times.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, it turned out for two reasons to be a good thing that I had been obliged to decline to referee Wolf's book: One day at my dinner table in Amsterdam, I told him privately that I was appalled at what then seemed to me as a "giant step backward" in his book, which now said that "capitalism" began in 1800 and not in 1492 as he had previously led me to believe. The second reason is that since then I have found more reason to agree with his later thesis after all, as the present book demonstrates. For, if there is such a thing as "capitalism" at all, which I no doubt, it would seem better to date it from the industrial revolution in Europe since 1800, as Wolf claims. But now I also see that the "world system" to which he and I referred in our blurbs for Wallerstein's book began much earlier than any of us three imagined. However that also opens the question what it means, if anything, to call the world economy or system "capitalist."
Then Janet Abu-Lughod (1989) wrote Before European Hegemony. Some years before the publication of the book itself, a special issue of a journal was devoted to the discussion of an early article- length version of her thesis. The editor asked me to contribute a comment, which I did (Frank 1987). That led me back to my "sneaking suspicion" about the possible earlier roots of the "modern" world system. Abu-Lughod confirmed them by laying them bare for the "thirteenth century world system," as she called it. But she said that it was only a fore-runner of the different modern one, for which she accepted Wallerstein's thesis of its independent [re] invention after 1450. The main point of my critique was extended in my review of her book (Frank 1990): The "modern capitalist world-system" was not the re-invention, but the continuation of Abu-Lughod's version of the same world system already since at least 1250. However, if this world system existed already two hundred years before Wallerstein's starting date of 1450, then why not still earlier?
Already in the preface to my World Accumulation 1492-1789, I had quoted and followed another admonition, which I called Fairbank's (1969:ix) rule No. 2: "Never try to begin at the beginning. Historical research progresses backward, not forward.... Let the problems lead you back." The "problem" was the origin - and therewith the nature - of "the world system," and my time had finally come to let it lead my historical research backward as far as the evidence could take me. If the beginnings of "the system" were not in 1800, nor in 1492/1450, nor in 1250, then perhaps around 1000 AD. Of course, Wallerstein did not and still does not want to admit any of this, even though he would write that it is clearly laid out and widely accepted that "the long swing was crucial." According to him, this swing was upward after 1450, but downward from 1250 to 1450, and previously already upward from 1050 to 1250 (Wallerstein 1989, published in 1992). As editor of Review, he graciously published my first article, which argued that we probably can and should trace the origins of the world system back much farther still, among other reasons because of this long cycle cited by Wallerstein himself (Frank 1989).
Barry Gills had already written but never published something similar on his own several years before. When he read the draft of my 1989 article, we made the initially obvious connection and then started to work it out. The results were our joint articles on "The Cumulation of Accumulation," on long cycles from 1700 BC to 1700 AD, on an interdisciplinary introduction to the 5,000 year world system, and the book The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? of which we are contributing editors (Gills and Frank 1991,1992, Frank and Gills, Eds. 1993). Gills generously shared his erudition with me, both of his historical lore and of his theoretical sophistication. Indeed he also loaned me much of his well selected library and his own early manuscripts. Therein, he was of enormous help to push or allow me to go much further much faster than I otherwise might have. However, he also drew me into some directions about "international relations" and about "hegemony" that I liked less and pursued mostly for the sake of our collaboration.
At the same time, Christopher Chase-Dunn had begun to collaborate with Thomas D. Hall. Chris had been a "number-cruncher" who had, among many other things, "tested" and found support for my and others' dependency theory. Simultaneously, but mostly separately, we were also "pioneers" in incorporating the analysis of the Soviet Union and other socialist countries into that of the "capitalist world system." Tom Hall's work on tribal and nomad societies in the American Southwest expanded to include nomads elsewhere and with Chase-Dunn also "marcher states" on the "borders" of or temporarily outside the world system. Together, they embarked on constructing more world system theory on the basis of their comparative analysis of several little and big "world-systems" These include several small ones but also the major one Gills and I were researching and David Wilkinson's "central civilization," the combination of which Chase-Dunn and Hall re-baptized as the "central world system."
Chase-Dunn also encouraged me to go to the 1989 meetings of the International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations [ISCSC], where I met Wilkinson and Stephen Sanderson. From there, I went on to the meetings of the World History Association [WHA], where I met William McNeill, who has encouraged my work on history every since. Jerry Bentley, the editor of the just launched WHA Journal of World History also attended both meetings and subsequently published my review of Abu-Lugod and my "Plea for World System History" (Frank 1990, 1991a,). Stephen Sanderson has also been working on parallel strands in his Social Transformations (1994). The book includes a study of Japanese development as parallel to that of Britain, which I also used in the present book. He subsequently edited a special issue of the ISCSC journal Comparative Civilizations Review, which led to his edited book of comparative studies of Civilizations and World Systems (1995). It contains contributions by most of the above- named and authors, and also includes my "Re-reading of Braudel and Wallerstein" (Frank 1995). Simultaneously, George Modelski and William R. Thompson (1996 a,b) have expanded their long- standing collaboration from their earlier focus on post 1494 political hegemony and war in the European world to the study of innovation and Kondratieff waves starting in 930 AD in China and also to pre-historic world system evolution. The collaboration, help and encouragement of these colleagues and now also friends was already acknowledged in greater detail in the preface to The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? (Frank and Gills 1993) and is gladly reaffimed here.
The thesis of this Frank and Gills book is that the same features that characterize Wallerstein's "modern" five hundred year old world system can also be found in the same system going back at least five thousand years. David Wilkinson and Jonathan Friedman and Kaisa Ekholm joined us with their similar theses [which were they worked out separately long ago but by now were mutually influential]. My friends [and co-authors of two other books on more recent times] Immanuel Wallerstein and Samir Amin contributed chapters, which demur from the pre-1500 thesis. Wallerstein (1991,1993) answered defending his world-system with a hyphen against my world system without a hyphen and still insists that we should "hold the tiller firm" (Wallerstein 1995). Both he and Amin continue to stand their ground in their contributions to a festschrift in my honor (Chew and Denemark, Eds. 1996). Abu-Lughod declined to take a stand on this issue and argued that we can't tell if we are now dealing with the same or a new world system in modern times.
The modern "father" of world history, William McNeill, was kind enough to write a foreword [and also to contribute it to my festschrift in "representation of historians"]. He now agrees that his own The Rise of the West (1963) devoted insufficient attention to world systemic connections; and that we must now increasingly map them through all networks of communication. I agree. McNeill's University of Chicago colleague, Marshall Hodgson and I shared an apartment in 1954. He talked to me about his writings, some of which are only now collected in his posthumously published Rethinking World History (1993). Alas at the time, I was quite unable to understand what he was talking about. If I had understood, it would have saved me about forty years of wandering near-blindly through the historical woods. Only now do I profusely cite and studiously follow his guides to re-thinking world history.
One way to answer Abu-Lughod's question and also to do as McNeill and Hodgson counsel would seem to be to attempt two related things: One is to trace the roots of her system backwards, which she said she was not interested in doing. But I was and did (Frank and Gills 1993). The other task is to look for the possible continuation of Abu-Lughod's own "thirteenth century world system" and/or Frank and Gills' five thousand year one into early modern times, which she also declined to do. Therefore, that is the task I undertake in the present book. However, doing so also poses many questions about what the implications of our reading of history before 1500 are for the re-interpretation of the early modern [and eventually contemporary and future] history of the world system since 1500.
I then read volume III of Braudel's (1992) trilogy, The Perspective of the World, and I re-read some Wallerstein to do an internal critique of their writings under the title "The Modern World System Revisited: Re-reading Braudel and Wallerstein" (Frank 1995). I confined myself to showing how their own data and especially Braudel's observations about them flatly contradict their own thesis on the European centered world-economy/system. An earlier version of the same critique had been published as "The World Economic System in Asia Before European Hegemony" (Frank 1994). This title combined elements of Wallerstein's and Abu-Lughod's titles with that of the then recently published Asia Before Europe by K.N. Chaudhuri (1990). Both authors had shown that Asia was far more important, if not hegemonic, in the world economy before Europe. Re-reading Braudel and Wallerstein showed that, despite themselves and contrary to their own thesis, there were not several world-economies in the early modern era. Instead there was only one world economy and system in which Europe was not and could not have been hegemonic, as they mistakenly claimed. Thus, also contrary to their claims, this world economy and system also could not have started in Europe!
Here the significance of the three dust-jacket blurbs for Wallerstein's first edition have become apparent. Braudel said that Wallerstein provided a new framework for the subject of European history so that they could better re-interpret what historians already knew, that is that Europe had formed a world around itself. I had said that the book would be an instant classic, because we needed it for the proper appreciation of all subsequent development. And Eric Wolf added that "people will have to deal with, argue with, cite, learn by in order to make their own points, take their own departures."
Yes indeed, for my critiques of Braudel and Wallerstein do learn from and argue with Walletstein to suggest that Braudel is both right and wrong: Wallerstein provides a better framework for the subject of European history, but not for world history, Wallerstein's title notwithstanding. And Braudel and other historians are wrong to have "known" all along that Europe had formed a world around itself. My above cited critiques show on their own evidence that Europe did not expand to "incorporate" the rest of the world into its "European world-economy/system." Instead, Europe belatedly joined, or at least cemented its previously looser ties with, an already existing world economy and system. To combine Abu-Lughod's and Chaudhuri's titles, pride of place belonged to Asia Before European Hegemony. Or to add Braudel's and Wallerstein's own titles as well, we need a new Perspective of the Modern World System of Asia Before European Hegemony.
In this regard, I have related before (Frank 1991, 1996) what my then about 15 year old sons told me almost two decades ago. It turns out to be even more relevant to the thesis of the present book than I, or presumably they, could realize at the time: Paulo said that if Latin America had been colonial, it could not have been feudal. Miguel said in 1978 that England is an underdeveloping country. The significance of these observations to the present book is several-fold: If Latin America was colonial it was because it was part and parcel of the world system. Therefore, not only can it make no sense to call it "feudal." It also makes questionable sense to so categorize it at all - even as "capitalist" - other than as a dependent part of the world economy or system. What do we gain by any such "definition," if we can even "define" it at all? Really nothing; indeed this focus on "modes of production" only diverts our attention from the much more importantly defining world system of which everything is a part, as I already argued elsewhere (Frank 1991, 1993, 1996).
In that world economy/system, we can observe "the development of underdevelopment" here and there, then and now. Much of Latin America and Africa are still underdeveloping. However, now we can also observe that "Great" Britain is also underdeveloping. We noted that my son Miguel already observed that in 1978, before Margaret Thacher took over as Prime Minister! Miguel and maybe Mrs. Thacher did not see it for lack of sufficient world systemic hindsight, but in fact we can observe Britain underdeveloping already since the beginning of "The Great Depression" in 1873. How so? Well even with the benefit of Wallerstein's modern-world- system perspective, we can now see that some sectors, regions, countries and their "economies" not only move up, but also move down in their relative and even absolute positions within the world economy and system as a whole. Britain began its decline over a century ago, when its pride of place began to be taken by Germany and North America. They fought two world wars - or one long war from 1914 to 1945 - to dispute who would take Britain's place. Alas for some, today their place in the sun is also being displaced by the "Rising Sun" in East Asia. One of the theses of this book is that these developments should come as no surprise, because parts of East Asia already were at the center of the world economy/system until about 1800. In historical terms, "The Rise of the West" came late and was brief!
So one of the [early] purposes of the present book was to show first that there already was an ongoing world economy before the Europeans had much to do and say in it. There were two naturally derivative points: One was to show that Asia, and especially China and India, but also Southeast Asia and West Asia, were more active and the first three also more important to this world economy than Europe was until about 1800. The other derivative point is that therefore it is completely counter-factual and anti-historic to claim what "historians already knew that Europe built a world around itself." It did not; it used its American money to buy itself a ticket on the Asian train. However, this historical fact has still other far-reaching implications, both for history and for social theory based on historical understanding.
Under the title "Let's Be Frank About World History," my friend Albert Bergesen (1995) points out that the proposition "the world economy/system did not begin in Europe" also pulls the rug out from all Eurocentric social theory. It is based on the temporal precedence and structural priority of a Europe around which the remainder of the world was allegedly built. If Europe did not have this place and function, then the derived Eurocentric social theory also does not rest on the firm historical foundation that it claims to have in what historians "knew." Thus, the very scaffolding of western social theory threatens to come tumbling down around us. It now does so through its own undoing or at least through the wrong-doing of its principal architects and all the "master" builders who constructed their theoretical scaffolding and built on unstable historical foundations. As I will show in the Introductory chapter that follows, these architects of our social theory include Marx, Weber, Sombart, Polanyi and others, as well as still Braudel and Wallerstein [and indeed Frank 1978]. Aall of them [mis]-attributed a central place in their theories to Europe, which it never had in the real world economy. How and where does that leave us? Well, just about as in the proverbial [European/ American/ Western] Emperor Who Had No Clothes. Naked!
More or less well known critiques of this Eurocentrism have already been made at the ideological level by Edward Said (1978) in his critique of the idea of Orientalism, Martin Bernal (1987) when he argued for the African origins of Western culture in Black Athena, Samir Amin (1989) when he inveighed against Eurocentrism and others to be cited in the introductory chapter to come. I mention them here mostly as other precursory strands for the critical part of this book. Another major one is James Blaut (1993) who literally demolishes all the myths of European "exceptionalism" in The Colonizer's Model of the World. All these writers have done yeoman work to show that the now naked Eurocentric Emperor has no clothes. So what is to be done?, as Lenin might have said! Bergesen insists that we do something globological about it, even if it is not yet quite clear just how to do it.
It is not my purpose to fashion a new set of clothes for the same old Eurocentric Emperor, although others who are too embarrassed by his new-found nakedness may wish to try. I frankly prefer no emperor at all. However, I am not naive enough to think that we can just think him away. Nor will it do simply to "deconstruct" him and his garb, post-modernist fashion. I do believe that we are in dire need of an Alternative "Perspective of the World" for the new world [dis]order in the making.
The World System: Five Hundred Years or Five Thousand? [with a question mark!] was my first attempt to fashion an alternative "perspective of the world" and analytical tool to grapple with its own structure and function. Marta Fuentes used to say that I am still a "functionalist," because I used to ask her all the time, 'what's the sense of this, that or the other?'. She said that by 'sense' I really meant 'function' within the structure of the system. She thought it was all only in my head. I think the system is really out there in the real world, and it is about time that we fashion ourselves at least a rudimentary mental picture of this system, its structure, and its dynamic. My friend Robert Denemark agrees. He co-edited the festschrift for me, which was nice of him. However he is also very demanding of both of us. He insists that we must, and helps me to, study the whole [system], which is more than the sum or its parts. That is, we need a more holistic theory and analysis of the whole world, and not of just the part that centered around Europe.
Alas, we lack even an adequate terminology, not to mention the analytic constructs and over-arching theory, to replace 'inter- national' trade and other relations. To say instead 'world trade' in the 'global system' [or vice versa] is only a small step in the right direction, if that. For the point is to elucidate how the flow of trade and money is only analogous to the oxygen carrying blood that pulses through the circulatory system [or to the other information also through the nervous system] of the world body's economy. The world body also has a skeletal and other structure; it has organs that are vital to its survival, but whose 'function' is also bodily determined; it has cells that live and die and are replaced by others; it has daily, monthly, and other short and long cycles; indeed a life cycle; and it seems to be part of an evolutionary [albeit not pre-destined] scheme of things. Last but by no means least, our world economy and "system" is not independent of the ecology or the cosmos, with both of which it can and does have mutual interactions, which also bear more and more systematic attention. The other co- editor of the festschrift for me, Sing Chew, insists that my attempts at 'humanocentric' analysis are not enough. What we need, he says, is 'ecocentric' theory and praxis. Alas, we or at least I lack even the conceptual wherewithal adequately to address either of these problematiques, let alone their combination.
This book is my first more holistic attempt at extending Denemark's and my "perspective of the [whole] world" onwards to early modern world economic history. The task is to look in the attempt to see how the structure/ function/ dynamic of the world economy/system itself influences, if not determined, what happened - and still happens! -in its various parts. The whole is not only greater than the sum or its parts. It also shapes the parts and their relations to each other; which in turn transform the whole.
So this is the record of how the beginnings of the present work have developed out of partly parallel and partly already intermingled strands. This book now seeks to go beyond these roots in order to make my own points and take my own departures as Eric Wolf correctly predicted. That means to take and make a departure, indeed a radical break, also from him and all the others - including myself - cited above. Nonetheless, I gratefully acknowledge much help from all of them and others.
I gladly accepted the invitation of my often co-author Barry Gills and his University of Newcastle to begin the joint construction there of such an alternative perspective in March 1994. Its 20 page first draft was entitled "The Modern World System under Asian Hegemony: The Silver Standard World Economy 1450-1750" (Gills and Frank 1994). Alas, this work was then interrupted, largely due to illness on my part. Only in late 1995 did it become possible again for me to pursue and now to expand this work; but now, after my retirement from the University of Amsterdam, on my own here in Toronto.
Not really on my own! For Nancy Howell and I were married in Toronto in 1995, and she has given me untold emotional and moral support to resume this project and carry it further as the present book. It would and could not ever have undertaken, let alone completed, without Nancy. Moreover, she also provided me with the physical facilities to do so in a beautiful study in our home and access as her husband [to compensate my lack of any other institutional support] to the library facilities of the University of Toronto.
That also allows me the use of its e-mail to communicate about issues in and sources for this book with colleagues all over the world. There have been so many, in addition to those already acknowledged elsewhere in this preface, that I can here only name and thank a few of the many whom I have consulted who have helped me most, alas some still by snail-mail: Bob Adams in California, Jim Blaut in Chicago, Greg Blue in British Columbia, Terry Boswell in Georgia, Tim Brook in Toronto, Linda Darling in Arizona, Richard Eaton in Arizona, Dennys Flynn in California, Steve Fuller in England, Paulo Frank in Geneva, Jack Goldstone in California, Takeshi Hamashita in Tokyo, Satoshi Ikeda in Binghamton, Huricihan Inan in Ankara, Martin Lewis in North Carolina, Victor Lieberman in Michigan, Angus Maddison in Holland, Pat Manning in Boston, Bob Marks in California, Joya Misra in Georgia, Brian Moloughene in New Zealand, John Munro in Toronto, Rila Mukherjee in Calcutta, Jack Owens in Idaho, Frank Perlin in France, Ken Pomeranz in California, Anthony Reid in Australia, John Richards in North Carolina, Morris Rossabi in New York, Mark Selden in Ithica, David Smith in California, Graeme Snooks in Australia, Burton and Dorothy Stein in London, Sun Laichen in Michigan, and Richard von Glahn, John Wills and Bin Wong all in California.
The attentive reader will find that most of these names reappear in the text in connection with my use of their own work and/or that used or recommended by them. Before proceeding to publish especially my disputes with them [eg. about estimates and other issues regarding population, trade, production, income, money, cycles and institutions in China, Europe, India, Central-, Southeast-, and West-Asia, as well as Africa], I submitted my relevant text to their personal review and acceptance. I then amended my text in accordance with their return e-mailed collegial comments, for which I wish to express my gratitude here. Alas, similar communication was not possible or was interrupted about my disputes with some colleagues in India.
Last but not least, I am thankful to Paul De Grace, cartographer at the Department of Geography of Simon Fraser University, for converting my hand schetched designs into his computer generated maps; to the World Society Foundation of Zurich in Switzerland for financial aid to pay for them and other expenses; to my long time friend Stan Holwitz and now also my editor at the University of California Press in Los Angeles for humoring me through the travails of the book's production in Berkeley; and to the ever active production editor there Juliane Brand. My special and greatest thanks in this department go to Kathleen MacDougall. Her good substantive help far beyond thecall of duty as copy- editor strengthened this book's content and argument, while her professional expertise combined with endless patience and good cheer much improved its form and comunicability to the reader, in whose name I therefore thank her as well.
To conclude, I hope I may be excused if I repeat something from the preface of my previous book on World Accumulation
The very attempt to examine and relate the simultaneity of different events in the whole historical process or in the transformation of the whole system - even if for want of empirical information or theoretical adequacy it may be full of holes in its factual coverage of space and time - is a significant step in the right direction (particularly at a time in which this generation must "rewrite history" to meet its need for historical perspective and understanding of the single historical process in the one world today). (Frank 1978a: 21).
To end this already too long preface, I would like to continue my quotation from and agreement still with John King Fairbank:
The result can only be an imperfect approximation. Fortunately, no one has to regard it as the last word. Once and author looks back at what he thought he was trying to do, many perspectives emerge. Foremost is that of ignorance, at least in my case. A book that to its author is a mere antechamber to a whole unwritten library, bursting *with problems awaiting exploration, may seem to his readers to have a solidity which shunts their research elsewhere. It is useless to assure them that the book is really full of holes (Fairbank 1969: xii).
Unlike Fairbank, at least I need not fear that any of my readers may be fooled into seeing a non-existent solidity here. Surely, they will note that this book is full of holes. I do hope however not to shunt all of their research elsewhere, and I invite them to use at least some of it to help fill these holes -- and to dig up new ones of their own.
Andre Gunder Frank Toronto, January 26, August 8, and December 25, 1996