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Re: Ricardo Duchesne on Ellen Meiksins Wood
by Charles Jannuzi
24 September 2003 04:31 UTC
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On a recent trip to Okinawa I visited a site with some
historical exhibits and interpretation. Looking at an
Okinawan trade ship mockup of a design that goes back
to 1600, I was struck by just how similar it was to a
mockup I had seen at the Jamestown colony of a
contemporaneous British ship, except for a lack of
guns on the Okinawan ship (though note I'm not an
expert on ships, I just mean it looks about as worthy
for the open seas as the one I saw at Jamestown). The
Okinawans were sailing to places like China, Korea,
Kyushu and SE Asia in these things. (BTW, another
interesting thing that was explained in the exhibits
was the fact that about 250 years later Com. Perry and
the 'Black Ships' made a stop in Okinawa before they
got to the main islands of Japan. )  

In part, Louis Proyect, who is confusingly engaging in
a discussion on several lists at the same time,

>>Obviously the notion that European capitalism 
developed as a result of the exploitation of the Third
World has been so roundly refuted I need not elaborate
this here. Just a handy, if incomplete, stats: At most
2% of Europe's GNP at the end of 18th century 
took the form of profits derived from commerce with
Americas, Asia, Africa! (I think source is

The statement doesn't make much sense to me. The use
of the term 'Third World' doesn't fit a historical
discussion going back to the end of the 18th century
(1790-1799, I'm assuming). And the use of the term
'profits' makes little sense to me here--could you
please explain what you mean by that term in this
case? Two percent of total GNP of a sub-continent for
the people who got them and controlled them could be
enormous amounts and would not exclude the idea that
these profits could somehow be leveraged into the
respective political economies for further development
of trade with the colonies and former colonies.
Finally, this is a period characterized with war
between France and much of the rest of Europe,
including Britain (France had already ceded control of
North America to Britain in 1767). A decade of war
(French Revolutionary Wars) hurt trade with the
Americas, and we might assume it hurt profits, too. 

Charles Jannuzi
Fukui, Japan    



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