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Re: the Eurocentric bath water, the baby, and AGF
by Adam Starr
21 March 2002 20:15 UTC
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Hello WSN World,

In light of wave of resistance to the proposed notion
of the elimination of the concept of "capitalism" by
AGF, perhaps we may consider that there is indeed
relevance to this statement.

The unit of anlyisis, "capitalisim" refers to the mode
of production as presented by Marx during the 19th
century. His work in turn was based upon Hegel's
historical anlysis and Smith's "Wealth of Nations".
The concept indeed had relevance at the time based
within the colonial economic system.

Since this time, Communists, Marxists, Socialists,
neo-Marxists, and World Systems Theorists have taken
this concept and have continued to apply it to the
rhetoric of analysis. We are all guilty of it.
However, at the same time, "Capitalism" itself has
evolved in the neo-Darwinian sense. Globalization has
been emerging (keep in mind this is an ongoing
process, not an end-state) and has excelerated since
Bretton Woods.

Could it be that the concept of capitalism has changed
along with globalization from the "right" perspective?
The mode of production and means of exchanges now
rides the wave of  technological systemic swells at
the global level through intra-firm relations, not

This appears to be much different from the units of
analysis that Marx or Smith for that matter were
initially concerned with. Could it be, 18th century
"Capitalism" has evolved into something more specific,
"The Neo-Liberal Agenda"? Thus, it might not be so far
off from the truth that "Capitalism" with its
'debated' eurocentric origins once existed but has
evolved so much that it is now an entirely different
species. Perhaps we should be more concerned with the
origins of this later concept. 

What do you think? 

--- g kohler <kohlerg@3web.net> wrote:
> This refers to, and is an interpretation of,
> Professor Frank's recent
> piece (wsn, 13 March 2002) on "the Communist
> Manifesto: Abstract of a
> world historical critique".
> To give my conclusion first, it seems that, in order
> to get rid of the
> Eurocentric bath water, AGF pretends (pretends only)
> to throw out the
> baby (capitalism) as well. It's a Frankistic
> rhetorical strategy.
> Details -
> (1) Contradiction -
>           on the one hand, AGF agrees with 
> Chaudhuri that "The
> ceaseless quest of modern historians looking for the
> 'origins' and roots
> of capitalism is not much better than the
> alchemist's search for the
> philosopher's stone";
>           on the other hand, AGF does exactly the
> same, namely,
> identifying the origins and roots of that same baby.
> AGF explains that
> the baby, which is commonly called capitalism,
> originates in that
> "historical process" (unit of analysis = the world)
> which is "world-wide
> and world - including Europe - encompassing".
> (2) An analogous reasoning would be that there is no
> such thing as "the
> Canadian weather", because the Canadian weather
> (a) has no historical breakpoints,
> (b) did not develop in quasi-Darwinian stages of
> evolution from lower to
> higher stages,
> (c) is not made within Canada, and
> (d) is not uniquely Canadian and is not essentially
> different from
> weather in other parts of the world -- but must be
> understood as part of
> a "universal" weather "process" which is "world-wide
> and world-including
> Canada-encompassing".
> . . . and therefore, my students, says the
> professor, there is no such
> thing as "the Canadian weather."
> (3) ... and therefore, my students, says Professor
> Frank, there is no
> such thing as "capitalism".
> It's a Frankistic rhetorical strategy, like the
> formula "development of
> underdevelopment".
> Gernot Kohler
> Still paying $22.95 a month for unlimited dial-up?
> Get 3webXS, only $9.95 a month!!!
> Switch & Save at http://www.Get3web.com/?mkid=emt001

Adam T. Starr
Undergraduate of Political Science, UVic
3009 Quadra Street, Victoria, British Columbia
V8T 4G2 Canada
(011) (250) 472-1223
adam@hornbyisland.com or reunitedhornby@yahoo.com

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